Social media

More money to be spent on marketing

Social media will increasingly play a vital role in our marketing strategies
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Marketing directors in many organisations are soon expected to spend more money on technology than their chief information officers and information technology (IT) directors, with social media monitoring and engagement platforms likely to be among the major drivers of IT spending over the next five years.

That is according to Tony Sousa, chief executive of Acceleration Media, who says research from Gartner forecasts that chief marketing officers (CMOs) will be outspending CIOs on technology by 2017. The reason is that CMOs are increasingly empowered to take control of their own IT needs and budgets in a world of cloud and data-driven computing.

“Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the social media monitoring and engagement space, where marketers are ramping up their investments in tools to automate processes and to gather data to stay in front of the changing needs of their customers. With the amount of customer information that marketers are now managing from social media, it has become a business application in its own right.

“Marketing was traditionally at the bottom of IT’s to-do list in the face of competing priorities from finance, operations, manufacturing, distribution and other departments,” says Sousa. “But the rise of digital channels and the growing volume of data they produce mean that marketing is every bit as technology-driven as any other part of the business.”  

He says the real-time nature of social media, the volume of data it produces and its impact on a wide range of service, sales and marketing processes and systems mean that it is likely to emerge as one of the key spending priorities for CMOs and marketing directors in the years to come.

Businesses must find ways to live up to customer expectations of real-time service and quickly route feedback internally to different departments in their organisations. And they must gather data from social media to analyse it, learn from it and create a more complete picture of their customers, says Sousa. This includes uncovering sales leads, discovering advocates, understanding social influence, tracking sentiment, and more. In addition, marketers need to be able to leverage data to optimise social media campaigns content and make informed ad-buying decisions.

“With social media rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing channels for customer care, acquisition and retention, it is now a central part of the business that touches multiple applications and departments,” says Sousa. “We are seeing a shift as marketers try to unify social media with other business applications and use its data to drive more successful business outcomes.”

He adds that the movement among marketing departments is toward software as a service as well as cloud services and applications that allow them to manage social listening, content, engagement, advertising and measurement through a single interface. Known as a ‘marketing cloud’, such a solution includes elements such as social analytics and monitoring tools, measurement tools, and tools to manage workflow and engagement with customers. 

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