What CMOs Think About Social Media

by Jason Falls |

One of my favorite and most often used pieces of research when speaking about social media marketing is a bit of data from a 2010 Bazaarvoice survey of chief marketing officers and their expectations for the use of social media. Back then, the fastest-growing metrics identified as critical for a company’s social media marketing efforts were revenue, conversions and average order value.

The reason I loved the research so much is that when you threw those three metrics at most “social media gurus” they looked at you like you had three heads. When you’re not groomed in marketing and business and you believe that “joining the conversation” is all there is to social media, you don’t get very far with company CMOs or other executives.

The Bazaarvoice survey is out again for 2011 and again offers some neat insights into the mindset of the decision-makers for marketing budgets. On Feb. 2, the company is going to go through their results in a free webinar. I strongly encourage you to attend so that you can either A) Know what CMOs (read: clients) want or expect; or B) Can see what your fellow marketers are expecting out of social today.

Bazaarvoice CMO Survey - Activities that bring value

My first read through the report found the following insights and what you can use them for in the coming months:

  • CMOs are more clear than ever before that they want to measure sales conversion and revenue drivers. When you add the word “marketing” to “social media” its about business. Draw that line to the bottom line, or go home.
  • Still, CMOs don’t think they’ve figured social media and measuring it definitively out yet. But the missing link, as Bazaarvoice calls it in their blog about the results, is coming.
  • The top metrics CMOs used in 2010 to measure social media success were (in order) site traffic, number of fans/members, number of positive customer mentions. But Bazaarvoice projects the top in 2011 will wind up being site traffic, conversion, number of mentions, number of fans/members and revenue.
  • 93 percent of CMOs plan on using some form of user-generated content to inform product and service decisions. The consumer has a voice now more than ever in corporate marketing efforts, not just on community sites.
  • The “don’t know” how much value social networking activity brings answers are declining, meaning CMOs are getting better and smarter at measuring. Ratings and review sites, branded communities and corporate blogs still lead the way for activities CMOs say bring average to significant return for their investment.
  • The report discusses real time insights and research a bit and how brands are finding consumer input found on social sites more valuable than just trying to stick a dollar sign on it. Expect more question on Bazaarvoice’s 2012 survey about how CMOs are using real time data and monitoring. I wish they’d asked those questions this year, but at least they’re thinking that way.

The report isn’t lengthy and you can download it for free. The webinar will feature several company CMOs on the call for a discussion of the results and the landscape of social media marketing in 2011. Sign up. It’ll be worth it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go change out that slide in about 20 of my presentations.

Read the report? Your thoughts? The comments are yours.

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).