The Better Social Business BlogJournalizing work in the trenches of all things web, social & interactive
On 17, Jan 2013
Social media will be the most important technology channel used by companies to engage with their customers within three to five years, according to a survey of 1,700 CEOs from around the world conducted by IBM.
Hmm … I’m not sure about you but isn’t this “prediction” already a reality for most businesses?
That branded social media outposts will increase in their importance, over time, as primary channels for engaging customers is kind of a given and expected trend … and yeah, OK, fine, perhaps the statistics gleaned from this study might be of interest or considered “new information.” But beyond such stats, is there really anything new in this so-called prediction?
In my view, no…not really.
Still, let’s look at some of the stats from the IBM study just for grins:
- Currently just 16% of companies use social media as their primary means of interacting with customers, but that proportion will rise to 57% three to five years from now
- Over the same time period, CEOs see Web site utilization increasing from 47% to 55%, while call center utilization will drop from 40% to 31%
- Utilization of traditional media will plunge from 39% to 15%
- The only channel outranking social media is face-to-face and sales representatives, although this too will drop from 80% today to 67% three to five years from now
- 72% of CEOs surveyed said they need to improve understanding of customer needs, and the same proportion want to improve their response time to market needs
- 66% said customer relationships are a key source of economic value for their companies
- 73% of CEOs surveyed said they are making significant investments in their organizations’ ability to draw meaningful customer insights from available data (the proportion is even higher in some industries – 86% in electronics, 80% for automotives, and 78% in both media and entertainment and consumer products)
So in summary, it is good to see CEOs around the globe are (a) aware of the value of social media as a positive means of customer engagement and (b) attempting to maximize efforts in social over the next five years.
Of interest, take note in the stat regarding utilization of social media is, according to this study, expected to plunge to 15% five years from now. This seems to be in line with an Advertising Consensus Forecast from the World Advertising Research Center (recently rebranded as WARC) which predicts further declines for both magazines and newspapers in the U.S. in 2013-2014.
In reality, then, these trends seem to be very much in line with the same trends which have been reported consistently in the past few years: marketers can expect to continue to increase their budgets in digital and trim them for offline/traditional.
Got any thoughts on the above findings? Please share in the comments below …
In between professional engagements, Mayra guest blogs and contributes content regularly to a number of publications both in and outside the Washington DC metro area. Mayra is also the editor of The Better Social Business Blog, "Pet Tech" columnist for the Virginia Maryland Dog Magazine, contributes an “e-Trends” column to the Loudoun Business Journal and is founder of the Loudoun Fairfax Local Bloggers Meetup group which mentors and helps local bloggers network, learn and exchange ideas.