Social marketing: Heading toward mainstream, but uncertainties, challenges remain [Report]

Author: Research Team

Social marketing today is in a state of great upheaval, according to The State of Social Marketing 2011 – 2012 report we released today.

Social professionals are split on key issues in the market, have conflicting perspectives on the expectations of Social Consumers and differ in their current use of Social. At the same time, they agree that Social can deliver bottom line benefits to their organizations and is on its way to becoming mainstream. They see 2013 as the year when Social makes that breakthrough, but see experimentation as a permanent facet of Social for years to come.

These were the key findings from a survey of more than 181 Social professionals we conducted this fall. The report provides a window into the future and equips Social businesses with information to bridge the gap between where they are now in Social and where they’ll need to be. Other highlights in the report include:

  • Facebook is ubiquitous, but Google+ shows surprising strength among Social Consumers
  • 97% of Social media professionals believe Social has brand value
  • 67% see real value delivered to  Social Consumers as key to engagement
  • Budgets, uncertainty about outcomes and lack of clear strategy are the biggest factors holding Social back from entering the organizational mainstream

“At the end of 2011, Social marketing stands at a profound crossroads,” said Brian Solis, host of the Pivot Conference, principal at the Altimeter Group and the author of the report. “Some organizations are finally embracing the importance of Social networks and, as a result, increasing investments in creative engagement, marketing, and service programs. Others see the future value, but lag behind in execution.”

At the heart of the change businesses face is the Social Consumer. As Solis states, “the Social Consumer is fundamentally unlike a traditional consumer and, as such, compels brands to rethink sales, service, and marketing strategies across Social, broadcast, and mobile networks.  At stake is a business’ relevance to the Social Construct, which is the new key to consumer connection and success. For brands today, if you don’t establish this connection, Social Consumers will just connect themselves and collaborate without you.”

The complete report, with 20 detailed data graphs can be downloaded at:



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