Posted March 27, 2012 4:05 pm by with 0 comments

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Would you say that social media is an accepted and necessary part of your marketing plan? Or is social media marketing still more of an experiment?

Pivot (the social business conference people) asked brand managers, agency professionals and marketing experts that question and the result was surprising.

49% said that social media marketing was still experimental. Of those people, 37% thought social media marketing would be mainstream by 2013, but 34.8% said they had no idea when they’d break on through.

The reason for the lag? Budget and lack of clear outcomes made the top of the list. Shortly below that, lack of clear social strategy and 39% said it was executive skepticism that kept them from settling in.

I know that return on investment is still the big question in social media marketing, but surely we’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s useful, even if we can’t measure it. Right?

If that’s not the case, then an awful lot of us are wasting a lot of time and energy and that’s a sobering thought.

On the other hand, 89% of respondents said that experimentation was just the nature of the beast. (They actually said “permanent fixture” but I like my image better.) This is probably true, since social keeps changing and morphing like nothing we’ve seen before.

Print and TV advertising haven’t changed much in the last fifty years, but who could have predicted Pinterest?

If we agree then, that social media marketing is still a grand experiment, the question is, is that okay? Are we comfortable with a medium that keeps shifting before we get a good grip? Or do you believe that social media will, eventually, become as routine as email and display advertising?