Merchants Investing in Social Media to Lower Marketing Costs – Part II

Earlier this week, I highlighted some of the data from the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Survey data showed a clear trend among businesses of all sizes.  More businesses are using social media. And the longer businesses use the format, the more time they commit to maintaining these sites. In doing so, they are also cutting marketing activities elsewhere.

Currently, businesses that engage in social media marketing also plan to increase other forms of online marketing at fairly high rates:

  • Search engine optimization: 71% (plan to increase this form of marketing)
  • Email marketing: 64%

Note that increased email marketing was more heavily favored by smaller businesses.

In addition, smaller businesses say they’ll also use more event marketing (65%) than larger businesses (38%). Overall 60% of businesses will use more event marketing or speaking engagements this year. But the enthusiasm for in-​person events does not seem to extend to virtual events. Just over 40% of businesses use strategies such as webinars and teleseminars and B2B operators are most likely to do so (52%).

For traditional marketing channels, business owners are signaling their intention to cut back as follows:

  • Direct mail:  37% do not use this format. (Those most likely to increase their use of this method are self-employed.)
  • Print: 43% do not use this format. An additional 33% will keep the budget for print unchanged while another 12% will cut the budget here.
  • Radio: 68% do not use this format. (Of those that do, B2C operators are more likely than B2B operators to increase spending here.)
  • TV: 76% of surveyed marketers do not use this format.  Only 6% of operators say they’ll allocate more money to this channel.

Participants in this study clearly feel that they can get more for their marketing dollars by using digital formats. However, if they find that they cannot measure the results of their investment in social media, it is worth wondering how much money they'll shift back to more traditional formats.

[Source: Stelzner, Michael. 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry report. Social Media Examiner. 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.