Our agency has migrated from using traditional direct response channels to a host of new media vehicles including social media. While we continue to employ direct mail (particularly to identified prospects and customers), television, print, the three S’s – SEO, SEM, and Social Media are fast gaining in overall marketing usage.
An article in emarketer notes that social media marketing has not gained share even faster due to a lack of marketer confidence in its effectiveness to move the proverbial needle. http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007974
It’s not that marketers don’t believe social media is a viable channel. But clients (and rightly so) want to have empirical evidence of the effectiveness of Social Media marketing not to mention SEO and SEM.
I’m currently in San Francisco for the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference. I was at the DMA Agency council breakfast this morning where this topic is a constant at our meetings over the past two years. As marketing agencies add to their tool kit the term ‘media agnostic’ is often used. That is to say agencies are not to care which channel is used as long as it is effective. I pointed out (with a nod to my associate and friend David Adelman of OCD Media) that we are better served being media cognostic. To know about all the various channels and make the right choices for our clients so that we can truly serve them in the most effective way.
Even if a channel falls outside of a core competency our job is to find the appropriate partner and bring that partner to the table on behalf of our clients. But what’s needed even more are attribution models that more clearly demonstrate how all the channel moving parts are working together. These are complicated models and requiring of substantial amounts of research. The payoff is a better understanding of how social media (and other channel) efforts contribute to actual product sales.
Intuitively we know that conversations on Facebook and Twitter centered around products and services increase brand identity and in turn sales. Yet we also know the customer is in control of where that sale occurs whether online or at a retail location. And the customer buying paths are not necessarily linear.
So as we build our own attribution models we expect to have that hard evidence that social media is directly contributing to product sales as well as consumer awareness. Just saying it works and expecting your client to buy that is why the adoption curve has been so slow.
What do you think?