October 16, 2009

NEW YORK - Marketers don't make changes to their products based on customer feedback, even though monitoring customer feedback is among the most common business uses of social media, according to nearly 70 percent of marketers who say they have never made a change to their products or marketing efforts based on consumer feedback on social media sites, according to a Social Media Survey conducted on behalf of PRWeek and MS&L by PRWeek and CA Walker.  The first-ever PRWeek/MS&L Social Media Survey polled 271 U.S. chief marketing officers, VP of marketing and marketing directors about their use and perceptions of social media.

The top three business uses of social media are managing and monitoring customer feedback (41%) and understanding the consumer and competitive landscape (41%) topped the list, followed by reaching key influencers (33%).  But while they are monitoring that feedback, they aren't using it to make critical changes to their products or marketing efforts.

Lack of time and resources are the biggest barriers to successfully incorporating social media into their marketing campaigns, while 43% said lack of knowledge and expertise, and 39% said they are not convinced of its value or ROI.  While many remain skeptical of the business value of social media, marketers expect it will play a greater role in driving business results and capturing market share within the next year or two.

"Customer feedback should be the front lines of product development," says Jim Tsokanos, MS&L's president, North America.  He adds, "Marketers need to act on information culled from social sites and are missing out on a key opportunity to improve and shape their products and programs based on what their consumers need and want."

Seventy-four percent say their companies are not equipped to handle global social media campaigns. Sixty-six percent say the majority of their social media activities are locally equipped.

The survey also found that almost 50 percent (49%) of senior marketing executives say their companies have no specific approach regarding employee use of social media to share messages on behalf of the organization or its brands.  Additionally, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) of respondents said that their companies are not using any of the most common social media tools in their marketing efforts. A similar proportion, 39%, say none of their current marketing budget is dedicated to social media programs.

"If brands do not have a social media presence, consumers will create one for them.  These results indicate that many companies are not engaging in social media in ways that truly drive business results and sustain relationships with customers, "Tsokanos said.  "Employees are the best brand ambassadors a company can have. By not having a specific approach regarding employee use of social media, companies miss out on leveraging their largest and most knowledgeable fan base."

To learn more about the survey findings and to obtain a complimentary copy of the report, please visit: You can also go to MS&L's blog post on it is available at:

The 2009 PRWeek/MS&L Social Media survey was conducted in partnership with PRWeek by PRWeek and CA Walker.  Survey results were collected between June 25 and June 30, 2009. Results are not weighted. Based on the sample size, the results are statistically tested at a confidence level of 5.1%.



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