Social media in marketing: A work in progress

Are we getting any smarter about using social media in marketing?  Not according to Duke’s most recent CMO survey.

The Duke CMO Survey

Twice a year, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business conducts a survey of Chief Marketing Officers. What makes the CMO survey so interesting is the fact that you can track how things change over the course of the time between surveys.

According to the most recent survey, both B2B and B2C CMOs plan to increase spending on social media – more than doubling the percentage of the marketing budget spent on social media in the next five years.

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 2.33.23 PM

[Source: The CMO Survey,, February 2013, Highlights and Insights, Figure 5.1]

Social media is still isolated in many marketing strategies

When asked how well social media is integrated with the marketing strategy – on a scale of 1 to 7 – the average response is 3.8.  And that average has stayed the same over the last several surveys, since February 2011.

We’re increasing our social media spending, but not really integrating those efforts with overall marketing strategy.

Note that the respondents self-evaluate their own marketing organizations as being quite strong. In a Lake Woebegon way, everyone is above average.  The lack of integration is not seen as dysfunction so much as just a fact of doing business.

We’re not really measuring our marketing efforts

We’re also not making very good use of marketing analytics. Respondents report that only about 30% of the projects are influenced by marketing analytics.  It’s understandably difficult to get a good handle on what’s happening across all channels in today’s fast-moving marketing world.

Social media and content marketing

Like Mark Twain, I always tread with care around statistical claims. (“Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”)  But in this case, I think the study illustrates how marketing as a discipline has had to adopt to significant changes in recent years. In many ways we’re still catching up.

My personal sense is content marketing is one way that marketing organizations will integrate social media into the broader marketing strategy. Social media is one channel by which companies can engage in content marketing – both listening to what customers are saying and putting relevant information where customers gather.

A Facebook community or Twitter presence, for example, can go from isolated outpost to important listening post if you provide useful content based on requests and solicit feedback, covering the issues and questions that are most pressing to your prospects and customers.

You can peruse the results yourself at, or read the blog post on Forbes by Christine Moorman, Director of the CMO Survey.

2 Comments on “Social media in marketing: A work in progress

  1. Pingback: Curating research as a content strategy | Content Marketing for Technology

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