I posted a short rant last week on my growing frustration with marketers fixated on social media metrics such as size of community, depth of reach, frequency of connections and sentiment while failing or refusing to measure how they impact the profitability of the business.
It generated a healthy debate within the comments, which, in part, began to rationalize why marketers are fixated on metrics vs. the profit they drive (or don’t). One commenter offered the following rationale:
- Overworked – Marketers are overloaded and don’t have the time to measure life-time-value of customers
- Lack of Skill – Marketers don’t have the skill or training required to link the metrics to profit
- Data – The data required from other business silos to effectively show the connection is too difficult to obtain.
Are these obstacles or excuses? The fact is marketers can and must make the time to demonstrate why they’re running the campaigns they are and what value they deliver to the bottom line. Don’t know how? Hire the appropriate consultants or acquire the necessary tools to support the process. The problem isn’t lack of skill, environment or workload – it’s the courage to do the work. Here are my 3 reasons many social media marketers don’t measure up:
- Laziness – Some will argue that this is a generalization but in my experience, marketers are increasingly seeking short-cuts, tools and tricks to justify the impact of their efforts. Drawing the links between social metrics and business profit requires planning and work. Short cuts need not apply.
- Greed – “Marketers ruin everything” is a common criticism of the breed. They’re quick to capitalize on evolving trends and generally bastardize them. As a result, there’s a growing disdain for social media among business executives, which is taking the conversation away from the positive impact it could have on their bottom line.
- Pseudo Marketers – Web 2.0 has birthed a new breed of “instant-celebrity social media gurus” that are not really marketers. They’ve not been in the business trenches; don’t know how marketing works within the enterprise or how to report it. They’ve become prolific Tweeters; gaining instant fame through their early adoption of the medium yet they’re caught flat footed, confused and often lash out when asked to prove the business value of their online chatter. They create catchy acronyms, which is really a smoke ‘n mirror effect to mask their lack of accountability.
Sure, the Internet and social media are still in their infancy and as with humans, the greatest physical change happens during the early years. Marketers respond to the change by jumping in with both feet and never asking the question: why are we doing this? What’s our goal? How do we measure success?
Technology, data collection and training can be easily addressed. The other three are marketing cancers, which are a little harder to cure in this social era. I’ll turn the debate over to you. Why don’t social media marketers “measure up”?
Sam Fiorella – Sensei
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego