For every post, tweet, retweet and like, digital marketers struggle to connect their social marketing activity to outcomes. “Social marketing is still an adolescent,” declared Julie Hopkins, research director at Gartner for Marketing Leaders, in her session, 20/20: State of Social Marketing Practice, at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference. However, marketers can learn from their peers’ best practices such as the advice shared by Cory Edwards, head of Adobe’s Social Media Center of Excellence, who emphasized that meaningful content evokes emotion, it inspires real-time conversation, and requires an evergreen strategy.
High investment = high expectations
According to Gartner research, social marketing was one of the top five highest investment areas for marketing technology in 2014. However, these budgets come with higher expectations and often ROI goes under measured. Ms. Hopkins advises clients who wonder how to move forward with strategy, measurement and vendor questions, to understand their social marketing maturity. The majority of social marketing programs hover in stages 2 (Sharing) and 3 (Engaging) of the Gartner Social Marketing Maturity Model. Often, those companies with robust social marketing haven’t yet reached Stage 5 (Optimizing), where social marketing is part of an integrated digital marketing program.