Why you can safely pay less attention to social media marketing in 2012

marketing-iconYour own website influences consumers more than social media, says new research from KPMG. You may also want to take hype about mobile marketing with a big pinch of salt, as the research suggests people still like to use PCs for social networking.

Sorry to do this to you, but if you decided to go big on social media or mobile marketing this year, your 2012 marketing plan might need a re-write.

Lay the blame for the extra work at the feet of KPMG, which has released its fifth Converged Lifestyle study and says that while “ … a third of consumers admit to being influenced by ‘fan pages’ on social networks, almost half look to official company websites for recommendations and information.” The study also finds that the PC remains consumers’ favourite social networking device, with only 16% of respondents nominating mobile devices as their preferred social networking tool, a finding which runs counter to assertions of mobile’s growing dominance.

Better news from the study includes a finding that “Almost two-thirds of consumers are willing to have their online usage tracked by advertisers, particularly when tracking provides a ‘payoff’” (see our story on mobile coupons for more information on this stuff).

There's a heap more stuff in the report, including predictions about retail and how to meet changed shopping patterns, the need to do more on social media (while remembering your own web site), the true extent of tablet device use
and a look at consumers' attitudes to privacy.

You can download the full, 32-page, report here (2.7 megabyte PDF) or if that seems a bit of a drag here are the “Ten key takeaways for business” that KPMG says the study reveals:

1. Privacy and trust:Organizations engaging with customers over digital channels must focus on building trust and ensuring the security and privacy of their customers’ personal data. Trust will soon become the most significant differentiator for online businesses.

2. Willingness to pay: Across all sectors, customers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their technology without jeopardizing quality. From television service providers to mobile operators and ISPs, businesses will need to rethink their revenue models and price points.

3. Impact of mobile devices: From mobile coupons to location-based advertising, mobile devices offer a wealth of new opportunities to businesses. Far from simply ‘optimizing’ web assets for the mobile platform, businesses will need to rethink the way they interact with their customers.

4.Value of data: As customers increasingly start to expect customized services, businesses will focus more and more on identifying, capturing and analyzing customer data to gain greater insight into their preferences and demands. The challenge will be in finding the right price to both appeal to customers and achieve profitability.

5. Owning the customer: As more technologies converge, businesses are fighting to decide who ‘owns’ the customer (and their data). The issue is particularly fraught in the banking and retail sectors, where businesses hope to establish themselves as a conduit to a range of other services.

6. Multi-channel convergence: Many consumer-facing businesses are putting increased focus on integrating their various channels to create a consistent and compelling brand presence across multiple mediums. Multi-screen viewing will offer new opportunities to converge messaging for businesses.

7. Mobile payments: The introduction of mobile payments will fundamentally redraw the relationship between banks, retailers, telecom providers and device manufacturers. Adoption by retailers and banks will only increase as more customers demand the convenience of mobile payments.

8. Social media: There is ample evidence that businesses utilizing social media to communicate with customers are building stronger, more trusting relationships. With consumer use outpacing business use, many organizations will need to play catch-up if they hope to meet the expectations of their consumers.

9. Online viewing:The move towards viewing video content online is changing the business model not only for content providers, but also for advertisers and technology companies. Businesses operating in this arena would be wise to rethink their mix of traditional versus online offerings.

10. Meeting customer demand: The converged lifestyle has empowered consumers who are increasingly vocal about their preferences and demands. Businesses that are able to gauge and respond to this evolving consumer relationship will ultimately build stronger relationships and gain critical trust with their customers.

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