Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Measure Social Marketing

It's official--Direct Marketers are still trying to get their heads around how to measure an investment in social marketing. So, reports this article from

Just in from DM Days, going on this week in New York:
"Here at the biannual gathering of the Direct Marketing Association, where the attendees are used to trading on measurable actions such as click-throughs and response rates, the social media phenomenon is particularly challenging."
So, we're not the only direct marketers who struggle with how to quantify and track social marketing. Ah, it's nice to be validated!

The speaker, Marc Schwartz, a strategy director of the interactive division at the agency DDB, also agrees that such measurement of social marketing efforts is difficult. But, he did provide some tips on how to best use this channel.
"Advertisers taking to the social Web should have a clear idea of their objectives from the outset.

"When you think about how you enter a conversation, it really starts with listening," Schwartz said. Then on the flip side, it's not enough to simply roll out a Facebook application and leave it unattended -- it is a conversation, after all.

Advertising effectively across social media requires marketers to spend time in the community to keep it engaged with the brand.

When the branded presence is tended properly, "social media provides an environment to create deep insight into consumers and their behavior in order to drive engagement and response," Schwartz said."

I think that advocates of social marketing (and this group definitely includes Nancy and me!) would agree that companies cannot ignore this channel. However, at the end of the day, there is still no way to measure the impact.
"To address that issue (of how to measure), Schwartz said that he had contacted some members of the academic community around Seattle, where DDB is based, to pin down the connection between social media advertising and sales.

As he envisions the research, it would be a statistical correlation between sales trends and the different methods of engagement marketers, such as return visits, pass-alongs and downloads.

He said that the academics he's approached have been interested, but that they have not devised a formal strategy."
Well, as a direct marketer who absolutely loves to show a clear and direct return, I'll keep waiting patiently until a valid way to measure social marketing efforts is devised! I think I may be waiting awhile :)

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