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November 17th, 2009

No-Panic Numbers

I’m very much not going to be outraged or shocked by a recent report showing Chief Marketing Officers spend less than 10 percent of their budgets on social media efforts. Compared to other marketing channels, social media is pretty low cost, especially if you’re still in the experimental phase and seeing what’s going to work.

Consider the cost of running a Twitter program: Setting up profiles on Twitter costs nothing and you’re probably tapping into the time of employees who are volunteering to take part. So the primary cost would be in hiring a world class of communications architects to coordinate the program, monitor success and pull regular metrics and that’s about it. That’s an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked, but it’s a pretty simple one and one that will have long-term benefits if you trust their guidance.

Compare that to the cost of running a nationwide print campaign. Between creative agencies, media-buying shops and the internal people who need to approve everything the costs add up quickly and in big chunks.

Obviously there are social media programs that are more expensive, especially as you start to ramp up the scale and add things like blog design and development, but overall you’re working with a lot of existing assets.

So I’m not concerned about budget numbers right now. Dollars go where there are proven results and if, like we are, you’re showing those consistently with the programs you recommend and coordinate the budget will come.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Marketing

Add Your Comment2 Responses to “No-Panic Numbers”

morgancarrie on November 18th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Totally agree that agencies and marketers alike should not be too dismayed that social media spending is still under 10% of a CMOs budget… It is definately gathering momentum and importance as companies begin to understand the impact on their brand and how it can engage customers and prospects in a very beneficial dialog.

I am finding in Phoenix that activity is exploding, but even with a significant time investment by an agency, the budget expense just doesn’t take anywhere near the hit of an ad buy.

It’s like comparing PR to advertising – it is largely based on a flat retainer, rather than media rates that can be extremely expensive. The budgetary hit just can’t be compared dollar for dollar, but it does not mean that CMOs are not taking social media seriously or that they are not dedicating the funds.

Love your Voce Nation blog!

Kevin York on November 18th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I agree. No cause for panic.

I’m curious about the methodology and verbiage of the survey. There may not be a lot of CMOs that sign a PO specifically for social media services yet. I would guess there might be more that sign one for PR or advertising services that include social media activities though. Trying to break the social media components out of a larger service contract might be difficult. Same goes for an employee’s salary who juggles multiple responsibilities with social media strategy being one of them. Could be hard to figure out how much of the salary goes toward just social media activities.

These type of limitations may have skewed the results somewhat.