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The majority of organisations of all sizes across B2C and B2B markets are currently blind to the opportunities and threats associated with social media and its role in marketing, according to global research from Satmetrix. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The company's social media study found that 39% of the businesses surveyed have no social media tracking in place at all, and 51% of B2B companies have no tracking (compared to 22% of B2C companies). Perhaps more worryingly, 55% confirmed that they effectively ignore customers who provide feedback via social media by having no process in place to respond (increasing to 69% for B2B companies, compared to only 42% for B2C companies).

At the same time, 67% of companies said they do not measure or quantify social media, increasing to 75% for B2B companies. And, of those that do have some form of quantification in place, 56% count only the comments and followers, and only 4% have any form of sentiment analysis.

Six out of ten business (60%) said they do not have an integrated social media strategy. In this regard, North America leads the way with 43% of companies having a follow up process (compared to only about 25% in other regions).

"Businesses recognise the need for a social media strategy, but many are challenged when putting an effective strategy in place," said Richard Owen, CEO for Satmetrix. "While 77% of consumers post about products, 67% of businesses have no means of measuring what is being said and less than 1 in 20 have any insight into the sentiment of what is being said."

This, according to Satmetrix, presents both a competitive threat and a significant lost opportunity for most brands. Not only are companies running the risk of losing customers by not addressing their issues shared online but they are also ignoring the opportunity to capitalise on positive comments made on the social web.