New StrongMail Survey Shows Social Media Is Emerging as a Direct Marketing Channel
REDWOOD CITY, CA, June 15, 2009 — StrongMail Systems, Inc., the leading provider of commercial-grade solutions for marketing and transactional email, today announced new survey data that points to the emergence of social media as a direct marketing channel and significant planned investment in email marketing and social media programs in the second half of 2009. StrongMail also announced a new framework to help direct marketers effectively leverage the two channels beyond the common "sharing" tools offered by other providers. The results and recommendations outlined in this announcement are based on data from more than 500 marketers who responded to an online survey from May 21 to June 1, 2009.
According to the survey, there is still a widespread land-grab for ownership of social media within the various facets of marketing, with 29% of respondents stating that responsibility is owned by multiple departments. However, social media appears to be emerging as a direct channel with 36% of survey respondents stating that the direct marketing department owns social media. Surprisingly, only 9% of the respondents report that social media is owned by public relations departments, suggesting that marketing teams value social media more for its demand generation potential than awareness building. A paltry 5% have a dedicated social media department.
The survey also revealed that social media is a hot initiative with email marketers, with 66% planning to integrate the two channels in 2009, and 48% who have already formulated a strategy for achieving this initiative. Funding is also exceptionally strong for both channels. Of marketers planning to increase budgets in 2009, 83% will increase spend in email marketing, followed by social media at 62%.
The increased focus and investment in social media underscores the importance of applying resources properly; however, there is still widespread confusion regarding how a social media strategy for email marketing should be implemented. 55% of respondents report that one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and email marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success. At 48%, establishing business goals for the program is a close second.