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Who should be responsible for social media — PR or marketing?

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According to a new survey by StrongMail Systems, a widespread ‘land-grab’ for ownership of social media is now taking place within the various facets of marketing, with 29% of respondents stating that responsibility is owned by multiple departments.

However, social media does now appear to be emerging as a direct channel with 36% of survey respondents stating that the direct marketing department owns social media. Only 9% of the respondents report that social media is owned by public relations departments, suggesting that marketing teams value social media more for its demand generation potential than awareness building. Only 5% of those surveyed have a dedicated social media department.

The survey also revealed that social media is a hot initiative with email marketers, with 66% planning to integrate the two channels in 2009, and 48% who have already formulated a strategy for achieving this initiative. Funding is also exceptionally strong for both channels. Of marketers planning to increase budgets in 2009, 83% will increase spend in email marketing, followed by social media at 62%.

However, there is still widespread confusion regarding how a social media strategy for email marketing should be implemented, the survey found. 55% of respondents report that one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and email marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success. At 48%, establishing business goals for the program is a close second.

Based on these findings, it’s clear that social media has grown to the stage where it needs an owner and a purpose within marketing, says StrongMail, which believes that the intrinsic interconnection between social media and email make it an ideal direct channel. Email continues to drive engagement in social networks by alerting members of new content and updates, and the ability to communicate relevant messages within social networks is critical to a business’s success in the medium.

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