'Conversational Marketing' to Beat Traditional by 2012

Spending on social media and "conversational marketing" — still in their nascent stage — will surpass traditional marketing spend by the end of 2012, according to a study conducted by TWI Surveys, Inc., the New Communications Review writes (via MarketingCharts). The survey of 260 senior PR and marcomms professionals was conducted on behalf of the Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) and Joseph Jaffe for his book Join the Conversation. Although social-media adoption has just begun - 70 percent of respondents are spending 2.5 percent or less of their communications budgets on conversational marketing - those surveyed foresee significant adoption and spending within five years. Some 81 percent of survey respondents said they will spend at least as much on conversational marketing as traditional marketing by 2012. Among other findings of the study:
  • Two-thirds of respondents plan to increase their spending on coversational marketing in the next 12 months.
  • 57 percent say they think that in five years they will be spending more on conversational marketing than traditional marketing.
  • Nearly 24 percent say they think conversational marketing spend will equal traditional marketing spend in five years.
The top obstacles to increased spending on conversational marketing, according to survey respondents:
  • Manpower restraints: 51.1 percent
  • Fear of loss of control: 46.9 percent
  • Inadequate metrics: 45.4 percent
  • Culture of their organisations: 43.5 percent
"The results of this research indicate that the industry is currently in a state of cautious experimentation with regard to social media and conversational marketing," Jen McClure, SNCR executive director, is quoted as saying. "But most organizations seem to be preparing themselves for a significant shift in strategies and resource allocation."

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