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Social media gaining on traditional marketing

Marketers continue to dedicate greater portions of the marketing budget to social networking and Web-based channels, at the expense of traditional media.

That shift was reflected in a recent survey from the CMO Council, which found that 60% of the more than 600 marketers who responded will invest in new online community and networking tools in the next year. Meanwhile, a recent survey from Alterian also found that 66% of marketers will invest in social marketing in the next year, and that 40% will shift more than a fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget to social channels.

Marketers are also taking advantage of the trackable nature of social networking and community tools. By monitoring spikes in conversations on social media outlets, more marketers are creating campaigns that revolve around relevant topics, can be monetized and drive acquisition or retention strategies, said Matt McCullough, director of interactive services at agency Rauxa Direct.

“More companies are starting to see social media as a real marketing channel,” he said.

Rauxa will launch a digital campaign for Bright Now Dental this month that marks the dental office network’s move into social media. The agency also developed a Facebook, Twitter and blog presence for Bright Now Dental in order to follow its customers online “and to join in conversations that are relevant to them,” said McCullough. The effort’s main goal is to drive new customer acquisition via sweepstakes from Facebook and Twitter into branded landing pages. By matching the data it gets from the effort to the client’s customer data, Rauxa will try to drive retention as well.

Another marketer —Travelocity — is building on the success of an integrated campaign that included social media from last year. The company recently launched a new effort with a contest and more advertising on Facebook. It is watching how social efforts translate to site visits and sales.

“One of the most exciting things about social media is the ways it allows consumers to touch and interact with the brand in an everyday way,” said Victoria Treyger, CMO at Travelocity. “That interaction is going to drive engagement and loyalty.”

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