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Marketers sleepless about social

Posted by Catriona Macleod - August 19, 2016

A recent study by Marketing Week has shown that social media is the most popular channel for marketers looking to drive brand engagement. This may not come as a surprise, thanks to the recent innovations in the social media sphere and the launch of new products (step forward Snapchat and Instagram). However, it’s how engagement can be so easily measured that is really striking a chord with marketers. Likes, shares and retweets are deemed by many to constitute positive engagement, with some even citing negative interactions on social as a good thing!

Thus, more and more brands are opting to use this channel to drive brand engagement and reach new customers, which is consequently resulting in an increase in competition. It cannot be understated that the social media landscape is creating a flooded marketplace, and our research suggests that this problem is causing CMOs quite the headache, with a whopping 92% of them saying competition in their market has increased the pressure for their company to achieve its commercial objectives.

As a result of this increase in competition, the buying decision process has become more complex and is subsequently taking longer than ever before. With an increase in the number of brands striving to be the loudest on social media, comes an increase in the amount of content that buyers are having to digest, and our findings suggest that 43% of B2B buyers state this as a reason for delaying the buying decision. Whereas in previous years a Google search may have sufficed, buyers are becoming much more savvy and researching online for hours to find the right product.

In fact, our research suggests that only three years ago, a vendor’s website used to be the most popular channel for buyers when researching new products. Whilst this may still be the case for marketers aged 45+, the age group 25-44 (who actually make up the majority of the workforce), are now opting for colleague recommendations (36%) and social media (34%) as the go-to platforms at the research stage.

This puts an ever-increasing amount of pressure on CMOs to be more creative on social, in order to stand out from the crowd. And this too, is causing them a great deal of stress, with 90% saying they’re having to become more creative and innovative to compete with other suppliers in the market. There’s no doubt that the need to be creative is essential to setting yourself apart from the competition and to add salt to the wound, our research shows that 70% of decision makers would actually prefer to work with a vendor who sets themselves apart creatively with clear differentiators.

In essence, the decision-making process has become much more complex, and so the pressure on marketing directors and CMOs has vastly increased in recent years. As it becomes much easier to attribute return on investment on social media, the need to stand out online has never been greater.

Download our report, ‘The Sleepless CMO’ to discover what’s really keeping CMOs up at night, and what the decision-making process now consists of for B2B buyers.

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