Monday, March 22, 2010

Five Social Marketing Budget Hot Spots

I cringe whenever I hear someone new to social marketing say they are eager to pursue it because it is 'cheap'. The five hot spots listed here should make any check-signer pause, because failure to contemplate their associated costs will result in a low return on any investment made.

Staff. The nature of social marketing implies highly sophisticated two-way communication between businesses and their customers. For a small business with only a hand-full of customers, or a start-up struggling to build a customer base, managing relationships with customers is relatively straight-forward.

But in larger organizations, with many customers, multiple community managers and departments interacting with customers in real-time, careful attention must be paid to staff and staffing hierarchies. The industry's frontier nature means scaling social marketing staff can be a costly endeavor, as solutions and products addressing the problem are in their infancy.

Cost of Participating. The ramifications of participating in social marketing can be greater than expected. By being active and proactive about addressing customers, organizations raise customer expectations in terms of delivering on whatever is said in those conversations. Whether it be addressing product issues, or sticking to a corporate slogan, the consequence of poor follow through is a damaged reputation.

Information Technology. There are many social marketing and SCRM products struggling for the spotlight as companies attempt to make efficient their social efforts. The scale of social marketing requires some kind of product, and that product will have a cost associated with it. Again, the current frontier state of the industry means costs will likely be higher than expected.

Crisis. Social marketing crisis happen. However, the total cost of such crisis is not easily estimated. Here's a good example highlighted in a blog by Jeremiah Owyang. Companies with social exposure must be prepared for the financial cost of things going wrong.

Metrics. Any social marketing program started without adequate metrics for measuring its success will ultimately cost more than planned. If a program can't be measured, proceed with extreme financial caution.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies ( 2010.

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