Survey: CMOs still lagging on social media

NEW YORK: Social media is not a top priority in marketing budgets, according to new study by The CMO Club and Hill & Knowlton.

NEW YORK: Social media is not a top priority in marketing budgets, according to new study by The CMO Club and Hill & Knowlton.

According to the survey, 84% of CMOs allocate less than 10% of their budgets to social media and non-traditional communication channels. This trend is troubling for PR agencies looking to beef up their revenues with social media expertise.

But MaryLee Sachs, director of H&K's worldwide marketing communications practice, said these numbers will probably improve with the economic recovery.

“While they're not putting a lot of money and people resources behind social media – they are talking about it all the time,” Sachs said. “So the interest from CMOs indicates the lack of resources going into social media is a cause of the economy. And also marketers aren't sure how to make the best use of social media and are very risk averse right now.”

The survey was conducted online with 124 CMOs who are members of The CMO Club, which H&K supports, between September 15 and October 15. Most of the CMOs surveyed came from medium size businesses, but some large companies were included, said Sachs.

Although the CMOs indicated comfort with social media, they are largely eschewing it for their brands because it is considered an “uncontrollable space,” Sachs added.

The survey also found that 48% percent do not have any formal interaction with the department that is responsible for NGOs, 39% reported a lack of interaction with IR, and 22% do not collaborate with financial analysts. Yet for social media to be most effective, integration is critical, Sachs said.

“There's a lot of internal wrangling within organizations,” Sachs said, adding the survey indicated CMOs are starting to work more closely with HR on social media policies. "Marketers have to understand how reputation is continuously affecting sales before we'll begin to see all these audiences being key constituencies."

She continued, “But the CMOs can only do so much; at some level this has to be driven by the CEOs of the organization."

The survey also found that only one out of 10 CMOs disseminate branding or customer data internally through a "real-time" delivery method, while 44% report using and sharing this data formally on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.

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