Social media usage is growing at a fast pace. But, marketers are still struggling to master the art of social media marketing. A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries, found that marketing managers feel overwhelmed by the growing volume of customer data on websites like Facebook and Twitter. They realize its potential value, but consider themselves ill-equipped to harness it.
82 percent of marketers still rely on traditional market research, to design marketing strategies. Only 26 percent of marketers are currently tracking blogs, 42 percent are tracking third party reviews, and only 48 percent are tracking consumer reviews to help shape their marketing strategies.
Only a few top brands, such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Starbucks — are successfully using social media to find out more about the customers and to communicate with them. CMOs of most of the other companies are still doubtful whether their investments in social media marketing would yield returns.
“The inflection point created by social media represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships. Approximately 90 percent of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position to increase revenues, reinvent their customer relationships and build new brand value,” said Carolyn Heller Baird, CRM research lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value and the global director of the study.
The IBM study points out to four key challenges that CMOs are confronting. These include:
- Explosion of data: The difficulty to analyze vast quantities of data, extract meaningful insights from them, and use them effectively to improve products, services and the customer experience.
- Handling unstructured data on Social media platforms: Marketers are using social platforms to communicate, but they still struggle with capturing valuable customer insight from the unstructured data that customers and potential customers produce.
- Channel and device choices: CMOs are overwhelmed by the growing number of social media channels and devices such as smart phones and tablets.
- Shifting demographics: New global markets and the influx of younger generations with different patterns of information access and consumption are changing the face of the marketplace.
To meet the challenges, involved in the effective usage of social media, CMOs must boost their knowledge of using social media and technological tools.