Posted by: scottgillum
Corporate Marketing, forrester, Lead Generation, PR, Social Media
After much internal debate and in-fighting among departments you finally decide to put Social Media in PR. Well, don’t get too comfortable. The risk, according to recent research on the technology industry, is that PR may get pressured to turn a vehicle for engaging in genuine conversations into a broadcast channel for generating leads.
According to research from ExactTarget, close to 40% of Facebook users said that they “like” a brand to share their support of that brand with friends.
Why users “like” brands:
- 40% to receive discounts and promotions
- 39% to show my support for the company to others
- 36% to get a “freebie”
- 34% to stay informed about the activities of the company
- 33% to get updates on future products
63% of FB users reported that they would “unlike” a brand if postings become excessive, and in particular, if they are too promotional or repetitive. 52% of Twitters users would stop following a brand if their tweets became repetitive or boring. This is where the danger for hi-tech marketers exists.
In a report titled Tech Marketers Pursue Antiquated Marketing Strategies, Forrester found that 42% of hi-tech companies have handed over Social Media to PR and Corporate Marketing.
The research also showed that 76% hi-tech marketers say that lead generation was one of the two most important priorities for marketing compared to 53% of non-tech companies. Non-tech companies also list customer relationship management to be a priority at 52% versus only 22% of tech companies.
Because of the pressure for leads, tech has a tendency to want to turn any interaction into a sales conversation, by doing so it risk alienating what could be its best sales voice, the brand advocate. It doesn’t mean that PR organizations in tech can’t successfully execute social media programs, in fact, many of the best practices come from the industry. But if not carefully monitored and controlled, PR and MarCom will be under pressure to use social media as a one way outbound spam machine aimed at anyone who hints at liking a technology brand.
That squeeze will come from the product organization, which has P&L targets that will be made or missed according to the marketing team’s ability to produce leads. Forrester found that Product Development and Engineering (35%) has the most influence of any business function in the hi-tech industry.
|Where should social media sit?|
The Forrester report went on to say that other industry respondents believe social media plays an important part in other marketing activities, as a result, it could be owned by a corporate marketing/PR (24%), web/interactive group (22%) or a brand or product marketing group (16%).
If you are in hi-tech and PR manages social media remember this – the top measurable benefit of social media, according to a recent McKinsey survey, is that it increases the speed to access knowledge; specifically, to understand the external environment, find new ideas, and experts which has resulted in improved marketing effectiveness. Note that these activities are collecting information, not distributing.