Chicago -- Social media is now essential to marketing in the retail industry, according to a recent BDO USA survey, which found that 86% of retail CMOs have included social media in their holiday marketing strategy. The executives said social media accounts for 10% of their holiday advertising and marketing budgets this year.
The findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. Half of the CMOs have included mobile in their marketing strategy, up 39% from 2011.
Additional findings include:
• Big data presents a big challenge and opportunity. Retailers were early adopters with big data, but the amount of customer data they now have access to through in-store purchases, email, social media, and e-commerce and mobile sales has skyrocketed. Nearly all (93%) of CMOs surveyed say they find it a challenge to integrate and manage the data, and 40% that it is "very challenging.” Two-thirds of retailers (66%) say they will increase their use of customer data for targeting efforts in the next year.
• Digital channels see a bigger share of marketing dollars. Print advertising is the top expenditure for 42% of CMOs, but 31% will spend the most marketing dollars online, including social media sites. This marks a 35% increase in the number of CMOs giving the most resources to online marketing and advertising over last year. Broadcast advertising remains the top expenditure for 22% of CMOs.
• Retailers focus on Facebook, many exploring Pinterest. Among the retailers who are incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, 99% say they are focusing on Facebook. Retailers are also looking to capitalize on the popularity of Pinterest, which is currently the third busiest site after Facebook and Twitter, according to comScore. One-in-five retailers say they are marketing on Pinterest this holiday season. Twitter also remains a popular site for 51% of retailers.