Will Social Rule the Marketing World?

54 Percent of All Ad Expenditures in 2010 Were Spent on Direct Marketing

No. It won’t.

The truth? Online media — all forms of it — increasingly rules the world, but social is just a piece of that converged puzzle.

When you look at the numbers direct marketing rules the world, at least from an overall marketing spend perspective (see above chart from the Marketing in the Round infographic), money is being invested in direct tactics like email marketing, direct mail, search, and more first. That’s because the direct marketing approach yields the most ROI at a 10:1 ratio, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Break that direct expenditure further into the online spend. More than half of expenditures (54 percent) in Internet marketing go to online pay-per-click search in 2011, says the DMA (see guest post on Copyblogger for direct marketing tips).

That’s before we even discuss the online advertising and email marketing spend, much less social media.

But 90% of communications and marketing bloggers are absolutely obsessed with it.

You can’t blame us!

It’s our bread and butter. Did you happened this blog post in the New York Times or AdAge?

Hell, even the media is obsessed with social media. Online rules their future, and they know it.

The fact of the matter, especially when it comes to commoditized products like toothpaste, sales get done through direct marketing, in-store placement, search, coupons, ads and other incentive based selling.

Social — the ability to comment and like/rate — is only really a feature set. All of the tool discussion from social networks to blogs is, well, the debate of finer tacticians who use that commenting feature.

Just another reminder to keep your eye on the whole media picture as opposed to the shiny toolset. What do you think? Is social the most important marketing tactic out there?

(The Marketing in the Round infographic highlights stats featured in the book written by me and Gini Dietrich).