The Power of Social Marketing in Multichannel Campaigns

September 25, 2015
Contributor: Heather Pemberton Levy

Our 2015 multichannel marketing survey shows social marketing’s importance across all phases of the buying journey including awareness, purchase and customer service.

Sarah, a customer of Sephora, the beauty products brand, checks her Facebook feed on a mobile device and sees a new product favorably reviewed by friends. She buys it, only to have a random quality problem post purchase. She tweets her dissatisfaction and the problem is quickly resolved via direct message by Sephora customer service. As a result of the quick, positive interaction, Sarah actively participates in The Lounge, Sephora’s online forum for beauty tips. Sarah’s experience and the role social marketing played in it are poised to be more and more common according to the 2015 Gartner Multichannel Marketing Survey.

“Social and mobile share a unique bond: 26% of time spent in mobile apps is spent on social”

Multichannel marketers aim to have relevant customer conversations at the right moment to significantly increase the probability of favorable business outcomes. Social media was cited by marketers as one of the most effective channels across all phases of the customer buying journey, putting social marketers firmly at the core of multichannel efforts, according to Jay Wilson, research director for Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

Here are three key takeaways from the survey to help you define the necessary investment to ensure social content finds its way to the right individuals at the right moments.

#1  Social spans the customer journey

Multichannel marketers ranked social media channels near the top at every stage of the buying journey and noted that social media was the most effective channel during the awareness and advocacy stages. Social media is also inextricably linked to other channels, particularly mobile. Social and mobile share a unique bond: 26% of time spent in mobile apps is spent on social as evidenced by 30% of Facebook’s users using mobile only. When it comes to the post-sale experience, multichannel marketers placed social media at the top of the list in delivering optimal post-sales customer experience.

#2  Compelling content drives the process forward

Multichannel marketers noted that investments in time, effort and budget in social media during the awareness and buy phases of the customer journey ranked the highest of all channels. When it comes to awareness and reach, paid media on social channels needs be part of the equation given the poor performance of organic social reach. As prospects flow through the customer journey, greater investment in compelling content is needed to drive the process forward.

“Technology investment in social media was nearly 50% less than other channels.”

#3  People vs. tech investments

While investment in human capital for social media outpaced people investments in other channels by nearly 2x, technology investment in social media was nearly 50% less than other channels. Such lagging investment could have a significant impact on the scale and effectiveness of social marketing activities. In other words, remember to invest in the technology for empowering your people resources to scale.

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