A new survey of Fortune 500 executives released by Datran Media reveals that the people who fill the C-suites favor clicks over brands when it comes to digital marketing. In other words, digital marketing goals mirror financial goals — short-term gains are better than long-term sustainable growth. Sadly, that’s a problem that keeps rearing its ugly head across the financial sector, but executives whose salaries and bonuses are tied to short-term growth continue to pursue those quick gains — in both finance and marketing.
The survey reveals executives’ top objectives for digital marketing:
- 84% want to reach a target audience.
- 74% want to generate high quality leads.
- 63% want to convert leads into sales.
- 60% want to measure and understand their audiences.
- 57% want to digitally interact with consumers.
The power of social media marketing comes from the long-term, relationship and brand building opportunities that it presents. Unfortunately, just over half of corporate executives surveyed cited interacting with consumers as an objective for their own digital marketing plans, which doesn’t bode well for social media marketing success.
But that’s not all. When the same executives were asked to identify the digital channels that performed the strongest for their companies in 2009, the results revealed the following:
- 39% email
- 24% search
- 9% affiliate marketing
- 5% social media
- 1% mobile
Clearly, the surveyed executives haven’t made the necessary shift in thinking that will help them understand how to measure social media marketing performance. By measuring return on opportunity in terms of soft metrics such as long-term brand building and relationship building as opposed to only evaluating hard metrics, these companies are missing out on huge opportunities for long-term sustainable growth based on trust, brand advocacy, and word-of-mouth marketing that come from active participation in social media marketing activities.
Let’s face it. Most large companies are a long way from being able to truly leverage the power of social media marketing for a myriad of reasons. However, it’s very obvious from these survey results that the necessary shift won’t be made anytime soon — not until corporate executives understand the value of moving from a short-term tactical focus to a long-term strategic focus that relies on many of the intangible components of business strength (such as brand and customer relationships) rather than hard numbers. However, for public corporations that must increase shareholder value year-over-year, that shift in thinking and engagement might never happen.
What do you think?
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