Reality distortion field around marketing spend with social media

In my day job I run Marketing for a Global Supply Chain Visibility software company, Inovis. Its about a ~$140 Million company. Our Marketing Budget allocation is pretty simple.

First some background. I believe there are 2 kinds of marketing teams:
1. Those that market for the sake of the marketing team: These do campaigns, events
to make sure their marketing team gets kudos for the great flash
website, being socially connected etc.

2. Those that market to drive revenue: These teams work closely with #1
constituents: customers and #2:sales to drive campaigns that generate
leads, engage with customers and closely monitor lead conversion etc.

I have read in several places that Social Media marketing is going to take over traditional marketing.

More than three-quarters of US
marketing professionals surveyed think that social media marketing—also
known as Web 2.0—can give them a competitive edge, according to Coremetrics’ “Face of the New Marketer” study.”

The same respondents said that only 7.75% of their online marketing spending went to such tactics. “

So you ask “What’s going on?”.

1. For most parts Social Media Marketing is “cheap“. Unlike events (which cost a lot and have a lot of hard $ costs), putting a blog, community site is relatively inexpensive, which is why it will never be a big part of the budget. You need resources but not an expensive upfront investment or a costly ongoing investment.

2. I do like Social media – I have 2 blogs, we Twitter, Utterz, do video blogs, have an online community etc, but still our bread is not buttered with social media. Why? The prospects and customers we intend to engage (in B2B) still dont view them as “aiding their research process”. They find them entertaining and “useful” but the call to action needs to be more subtle, so it ends up being less effective. If we do have strong calls to action they are viewed as being “sales-y”.

3. There are very few processes and proven methods to move a customer along the “lead funnel and process” with social media. I know this sounds old, but we are mostly measured by how much business a campaign drove. If you cannot quantify, something to the effect of – we targeted 100 people, 40 responded, 10 engaged, 3 sales cycles were initiated and 1 account was opened at $120K annual value of contract, it becomes very difficult to justify.