Lee Odden

2010 MarketingSherpa Social Media Marketing Guide

One of the most trusted sources of marketing research and information is MarketingSherpa. I’ve been a subscriber for many years and always look forward to the reports on Search Marketing, Email Marketing and B2B Marketing. Last year MarketingSherpa started conducting research and publishing a Benchmark Report on social media marketing.

The new Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report (affiliate link) was recently released and I’ve had a few days to take a look and will provide a review for our readers.

As you can expect, this guide is a “meaty” 250 plus pages of research, charts & tables, examples and well written advice. Over 2,000 marketers participated in the survey covering a myriad of topics ranging from strategy to forecasting & budgeting to integration with other marketing channels to specific research on social applications such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

MarketingSherpa emphasizes strategy with this edition and has coined an acronym similar to a phrase we’ve often used here on Online Marketing Blog, “Social Media Roadmap“.

What MarketingSherpa introduces in this report is “ROAD” Map, which stands for Research, Objectives, Actions and Devices.  The ROAD Map guide along with determining what phase a company is in with it’s social media maturity, helps determine next steps, planning and execution.

Based on my personal experience with a variety of companies at different stages of the social media maturity model, I think this emphasis on strategy is warranted. There has been an overemphasis on “strategy before tactics” as of late, but without any useful model to act on. This most recent guide from MarketingSherpa offers a methodology many “social media gurus” are lacking.

For a while, social tactics and the latest “shiny object” captured marketers attention. Then came more business minded advice suggesting the need for a social strategy.  Most companies have heard of and had staff use a variety of social tactics.  That initial familiarity brings companies to a stage of “I get it, but what next?”.  That’s where a Social Media Roadmap, or in the case of this report, ROAD Map come in to play.

Companies’ used of social media is in transition from trial to strategic and the five chapters dedicated to ROAD Map offer more than enough data and examples for most companies to make confident next steps.

Besides the strategy, tactics, technology and tools that are covered in this report (plus research findings), there are several special reports which offer sage advice on consumer social media experience (Social Media Friends, Followers and Max Connectors) and integration with other marketing channels such as Email and Search Engine Optimization (did I hear Social SEO anyone?).

There are also chapters dealing with social media and agencies, regulating employee use of social media, social media and IT, and the inevitable comparisons between business and personal use.

On the research findings, social media budgets will be increasing substantially over last year. Most will go towards people resources and the rest to technology and services. Many companies do not plan to outsource much of their social media marketing activities so many of the survey respondents did not indicate much budget going to hiring outside agencies.

One interesting stat was that social media budgets (11%) edged out SEO (10%). Is this the sign of a trend? It’s more complicated than that because the lines between SEO and Social Media are very, very blurry. The trend we’ll see is that social media (like SEO a few years ago) will draw budget away from other channels until it matures and gets it’s own cost center and budget.

Another interesting observation was that “B2C marketers lead their B2B counterparts in the formulation and consistent implementation of social marketing  practices.”

I’ve said many times that social media is a platform, not a tactic. That means it touches many other communication and marketing channels in an organization. It’s not a stand alone discipline.  According to the MarketingSherpa Guide, Social Media integrates best with Web sites, Email, Search Engine Optimization and Public Relations.

How are organizations measuring social media success?  The Business.com Social Media Benchmarking Study shows companies are surprisingly unsophisticated in this area, relying mostly on Google tools such as Alerts or Yahoo Alerts. That spells a HUGE opportunity for social media monitoring service providers as these companies mature in their use and expectations for measurement.

This is a very hefty report and I would recommend it only if you’ll actually read it and implement the suggestions. If you read and use only 10% of the insight in this guide you will have paid the approximate $450 cost many times over. I understand many companies are still feeling tight budgets but I have to say, you probably can’t afford NOT to get this guide.

 

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this review 🙂

  2. Sergio Balegno says:

    Appreciate the review, Lee. Much of the inspiration for this study was derived from thought leaders like yourself. Sergio Balegno, MarketingSherpa

    • Hey Sergio, you did a fantastic job on the study. Just wish I could have done it justice. People should skip my review and just buy the guide. 🙂

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  4. Greg Spence says:

    The report touches on some interesting and subtle changes taking place between SEO and Social Media. My belief is that as the search engines become more dynamic in nature (and by that I mean as they continue to index websites and social media in realtime) it will be harder for SEO companies to predict how to manipulate search results. In a few years I can see search engines such as Google providing results that are directly relevant to a searchers location, the websites they like to visit and the previous searches they have performed. I discussed this recently on my own blog to make the point that social media is more important and will become more so over time. In fact a systematic use of social media can replace SEO activities, although it takes longer to see real results currently.Thanks for sharing your review of the Marketing Sherpa report. I have bookmarked your post.

  5. Excellent report and data!

    I see some interesting things and then other things that make perfect sense to me. I was not surprised to see PPC (12%) next to radio advertising (12%). Over the past 5 years I have seen a rapid devaluation of pay per click advertising. I think the combination of increased click costs, competition, along with shrinking ad budgets and visitors becoming immune to PPC ads this makes sense to me.

    The other part of the data that really stuck out to me is Business/Consumer Services social media spend is shrinking for 2010. I have seen many b2b clients get excited by social media in recent years, jump on the bandwagon, not really understand the medium (or think that social media is going to be the magic pill to solve all of their sales issues) and give it too little time. I think some companies learn that since social media is much longer term and does take commitment and work, they pass on it (maybe just have the basics, Twitter, Facebook, Link In profiles) and thats that.

    Anyway, this is my 2 cents and I do plan on buying this report at is looks like a great read!

  6. This is one of the best reviews I have ever read! Most of the time reviews I read are spotty at best but the amount of detail you go into here really sparked my interest and now I know I need this book. I really think 2010 is going to be the game changer in social media marketing and this book should really help me out to keep on top of the game. Just wanted to write a quick thank you.

  7. Gloria Antonelli says:

    Hi Lee, Your post was just mentioned on the Marketing Sherpa webinar today – as soon as it is done I am going to read it!

  8. Good article. Also wanted to share this recent post about digital marketing predictions for 2010. http://bit.ly/b69l8I

  9. Small business
    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.
    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  10. Robate159 this report is relevant for companies of all sizes. There is not specific focus on large or small business. It's good advice for all.

  11. Small business

    1) Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well……..

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  12. Rising Searches for “Twitter Affiliate Marketing” are at 450% and have been for over two weeks. I don't know anyone who couldn't benefit by throwing a nice “Twitter Tool” on their homepage.

  13. Rising Searches for “Twitter Affiliate Marketing” are at 450% and have been for over two weeks. I don't know anyone who couldn't benefit by throwing a nice “Twitter Tool” on their homepage.