Yesterday, Salesforce.com debuted its much anticipated Marketing Cloud, providing users with social listening, content, engagement, advertising, workflow, automation and measurement capabilities in one product. Touted as “the most comprehensive suite for social marketing,” the Marketing Cloud, according to Salesforce, smoothes over many of the challenges marketers face in trying to measure their brand presence across social channels and interact with customers on social networks.
The emphasis on the Marketing Cloud’s ability to help markers apply insights and measurements to content and highlights a move towards integrating intelligence with various forms of media to produce more relevant ads.
As a recent Nielsen survey of more than 28,000 consumers shows, the most effective use of social marketing combines earned media (likes, comments shares) with owned and paid media. When asked which type of advertising consumers trusted, unsurprisingly, only 47 percent chose paid advertising across TV, print, digital, and radio, while 92 percent of the respondents said they trusted recommendations from people they know.
Owned media, like brand websites, scored higher than paid advertising but lower than social recommendations. Given that consumers are largely suspicious of paid ads, the growing trend is to apply earned media to paid, e.g., Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.
But while marketers are getting savvier about social marketing and solutions are becoming more sophisticated, companies still have a number of obstacles to overcome. “The sticking points are not IT related,” maintain Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar LLC and Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research in their report, “Social Media 2012: State of Adoption.”
Concerns over legal issues, security, and figuring out the order in which businesses processes related to social media should be handled continue to thwart companies, according to the analysts. “This shows there’s plenty of opportunity and that vendor messaging has not cracked the nut yet. It also shows a tremendous opportunity for vendors and providers to show the way to do it, including lessons learned, best practices, frameworks, and methodologies,” write Kolsky and Pombriant.
Therefore, while vendors will continue to race to offer solutions with added functionality and features, they will do well to remember that marketers still have other concerns when it comes to social media.