Bazaarvoice and CMO Club Survey: CMOs Focused on Strong Insight, Strategic Use of Social for 2011

CMOs look beyond short-term sales goals to focus on social as the source for intelligence and insight that drive innovation and deliver outstanding results

Bazaarvoice, the market and technology leader in transforming customer conversations into long-term business value, today released the second-annual Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey conducted with The CMO Club. The new study charts the progress of CMOs against their 2010 social media goals and benchmarks projected social investments, challenges, and expectations for 2011. The survey shows that social media had become an essential component of executive marketing strategies by the end of 2010, with 90% of CMOs participating in three or more social media activities. CMOs still focus on measurability and ROI but are recognizing there’s even more business impact to uncover. Nearly all (96%) are beginning to look beyond sales goals and web metrics to focus on how social media can deliver strong insights that fuel improvements across the business. This is consistent with Forrester Research’s recent finding that more than 45% of all companies now use social media assets for product development in addition to customer engagement (83%), and indicates a sea change in the strategic value that CMOs place on social today.

“There is a tremendous change occurring in marketing today,” said Erin Mulligan Nelson, CMO of Bazaarvoice. “CMOs have moved beyond fear and skepticism to embrace social media as the source for strategic intelligence that can transform their products, brands, and business. Social is much more than a campaign; it is now a launch pad for innovation revolving around customers.

CMO Perspectives and Predictions for 2011

The Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey: CMOs on Social Marketing Plans for 2011 was completed by members of The CMO Club representing U.S. and global companies of all sizes in a wide range of industries. CMOs shared specific information on their biggest challenges, plans, and expectations for social media in 2011, and Bazaarvoice compared these results against the 2010 Survey responses. The 2010 Survey showed that CMOs aspired to move beyond engagement (number of fans, site traffic, etc.) to tie social to business metrics like revenue and conversion. While the 2011 Survey shows the continued importance of measurement, it paints a more strategic picture of CMOs searching to find the true value of the customer voice.

Key Findings Include:

  • CMOs move towards social insight and customer-centricity - The 2011 Survey points to a big shift in the power of social media and user-generated content, as brands begin to organize these voices into strong insights that serve as the launch pad for innovation and business change. In 2011, 93% of CMOs plan on using some form of user-generated content to inform product and service decisions. Top forms of user-generated content used in 2010 include customer stories (59%), product suggestions or ideas (54%), polling (49%), and customer reviews (47%).
  • Linking company revenue to social media is the next frontier - CMOs were optimistic about tracking ROI for social in 2010 -- 81% of those who participated in the 2010 Survey said they planned to track social media to revenues in 2010. However, standard ROI metrics proved difficult to measure for many social efforts; only 40% of CMOs surveyed in 2011 successfully tracked ROI on their social initiatives. Still, measurability remains a top executive priority, with sales conversion and revenue attribution standing out as the #1 and #2 growth opportunities in social measurement.
  • Product ratings and reviews remain one of the best understood tools with proven ROI - The 2011 Survey indicates that many CMOs still use social media tools without clear insight into the ROI that tool is delivering. More than half of CMOS still don’t know or don’t see ROI across many social media tools, in particular Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Bright spots include product ratings and reviews (59% see average or significant ROI); company / brand communities (56%); and company or brand blogs (48%).

Survey Methodology
Bazaarvoice and The CMO Club surveyed 175 CMOs with US and global marketing responsibility in October 2010.  Respondents included executives at business-to-consumer companies (39%); business-to-business companies (47%); and companies serving both consumers and businesses (14%). More than 30% lead marketing organization for $1+ billion companies, and 33% come from companies with $50 million - $1 billion in revenue. A wide range of industries was represented in the survey: software/hardware (21.7%); consumer goods (12.2%); travel/hospitality (6.9%); media/publishing (7.4%); retail (5.8%); and manufacturing (5.3%).

About CMO Club
The CMO Club ( was created for the unique purpose of bringing chief marketing officers together in a private, exclusive environment of openness, and contribution that enables them to become better leaders, marketers, and deal makers. Tailored exclusively to top marketing executives, this club hosts dinners and events, shares reports and research from leaders in the marketing industry, and leverages the first online community for "CMOs only" for sharing ideas, helping each other, and serving as a resource for CMO career opportunities. The CMO Club was founded in 2007 by seasoned marketing executive Pete Krainik and currently has more than 700 members.