Why Email and Search Outsell Social

Money - Black and White Money
Image by Doug88888

So much for social ROI. Yesterday, the New York Times ran an op-ed debating social media marketing’s ability to deliver sales in comparison to other forms of advertising (for example, traditional search or email marketing).

A recent Forrester report stated paid search matters most for new customers, email matters most for repeat customers, and social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. Correlating this data, ExactTarget surveyed more than 700 consumers (ages 15+) in its 2012 Channel Preferences study, and 77% responded that email was preferred over social media for communications for promotion offers.

Opt-in email and click throughs driven by paid search represent private acts of engagement that occur deeper in an online sales cycle.

While the linear sales cycle has been disrupted by online media in the past ten years, buying still represents a process.

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What’s the ROI of Pinterest?

PinROI

Well known social media experts like to slough off tough questions about return on investment (ROI) with flip phrases like, “What’s the ROI of your mom?” Now it’s time to turn the tables and ask social media experts, “What’s the ROI of Pinterest?”

For the past few weeks we have experienced a deluge of Pinterest hype across the social media sphere, marketing media, and the periodic mainstream news piece. Pinterest is touted as the next hot thing, and we see a ton of suggestions from “experts” on how to market using Pinterest.

What is rarely offered is demonstrative evidence of ROI. And shared case studies are often sandbox level successes that produce light outcomes like follower counts, but not actual financial results. Here are some examples:

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Can We Give the Jedi/Ninja Thing a Rest?

Introducing the Social Media Shogun
by: geoffliving

“As an Interactive Jedi, I created the Triangle of Relevance as a means of wielding the Force to lure target audiences into my inbound marketing strategy,” Angie Schottmuller.

OK, we get it. The whole social media Jedi/Ninja thing is supposed to make work funner. It was cool when Todd Defren used it to start a social media education series years ago.

Now it’s reached the point of ridicule, and really hurts the sector more than anything. If you think clients — you know, the serious ones that everyone wants — are amused by Jedis and Ninjas selling them social media, think again. On the contrary, they are demanding the latest information on measurement and integration so they can demonstrate ROI to their internal management.

Most serious brand managers are leery of hiring yet another social media expert that 1) takes themselves too seriously, 2) isn’t serious about business, and 3) can’t deliver the results. Telling them you’re a social media jedi or ninja is the fastest way to send them a red flag.

Plus, generally speaking, the entire industry has an image problem thanks to such sophomoric behavior and shoddy performance. Have we forgotten the Telegraph’s now famous, “Time to Ditch the Blood Sucking Social Media Gurus” article, one of many recent discussions questioning the social media sector?

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If levity is the answer, then go a step further, and make it truly funny. For example, you could say, “I’m a social media PAPA Smurf. That’s right! I wear the bad ass red hat, suckaz!”

Point being, humor has its place, and making work fun is a good thing. However, the Jedia/Ninja thing should go the way of the social media rock star meme and fade into the night. It’s over-played and doesn’t help.