Back in May I asked, "Wouldn't it be grand if we could tap our collective intelligence and create our own marketing survey... with someone else taking care of the expense and legwork? A research project that that was truly 'for marketers, by marketers'"?

Well, we did and Equation Research delivered–in spades! And just as promised, we're getting first access to the report, before it's promoted anywhere else: please click here to download the full report (PDF).
The 40-page report is jam-packed with findings and implications, results for each of the 10 questions that were selected from the community's contributions and scores of relevant charts and graphs illustrating the key points, along with breakdowns by audience designations (i.e. B2B, B2C, Brand-side Marketers, Agency-side Marketers). It's enough to make a data wonk out of you, too.
To our knowledge, this is the first marketing survey that was directed by the community, yet facilitated by a third-party research company. Some of the findings from over 1,450 respondents include:

  • Adoption rates. The adoption of social media is well past critical mass--with nearly two thirds of brand marketers (59%) currently implementing social media in their marketing plans.

  • Tools and platforms. Facebook, Twitter, online video and blogs are the 4 most popular social media tools. Yet none of these are being used in isolation--on average, there are 5 to 7 other social media tools being either actively used or dabbled with by marketers at the same time.

  • Key barriers. Knowledge, measurement, and funding/time-resources pose the biggest barriers to social media adoption.

  • Current marketing spend. While traditional media channels account for the largest proportion of marketing spend; Online, Search and Social Media as a group are approximately a third of all current spend. For smaller companies this increased to over 40%.

  • Forecasts in spending. Looking towards 2010, brand marketers forecast a shift in spend towards digital tactics, feeling the areas most likely to increase will be Social Media (60%), Online Advertising (53%), Search Engine Advertising (49%) and Email Marketing (41%).

  • Mobile marketing. While current adoption of Mobile Marketing is low (only 11% of brand and agency marketers had it as a line item), there is interest in experimentation.

  • Corporate responsibility initiatives. The majority (87%) of brand marketers surveyed indicated their company was involved in some type of corporate responsibility initiative, most often in the form of environmentally/socially responsible business practices (58%). As a likely refection of the economic uncertainty, half have no plans for how their corporate responsibility projects will change in the coming year.
Also as promised, we are being given free access to Equation's online reporting tool; so you can filter, cross-analyze, or cut the data up any way you want. To access the online tool: Please go here:
  • For username type in: equation

  • For password type in: trends09

  • If you need any help with the tool, Chris Burke is happy to walk you through and answer questions; just drop Chris an email right here and he'll get right back to you.
As explained in the original post, Equation Research is not a client of mine, this labor-of-love project signaled an opportunity to involve the community in a beneficial program and I got to play but one part. Though I do want to say I'm tremendously impressed at how thoughtful and thorough the report is (thanks Equation), how terrific Ann Handley has been to support this project (thanks MarketingProfs) and how prolific YOU were in brainstorming the questions–thanks marketers!
While we'll learn through the report's findings, I do want to point out the key lesson that I'll be sharing with my clients and colleagues–because ironically, it doesn't stem from data found inside the report, but from the core idea of the report itself. That is to say, creating a piece that was both for the community and directed by its members. Given social media's growth tear, I hope businesses will leverage these tools in ways that engage audiences by providing new and creative types of value to their communities...rather than using these media as just another vehicle for broadcasting their marketing messages.
This program–via crowdsourcing the questions and preparing data that will help us in our work and learning curves–serves as an example of that practice. And I hope to see plenty more.
Enjoy your data, marketers and I'll leave you on another exciting note: Equation Research wants to conduct a community-developed survey with us again in 2010. So it looks like we've started an annual tradition!
PS: If you've not already, download your copy of the report right here.

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Christina "CK" Kerley is a strategist, speaker, and trainer on innovation through mobile and smart technologies ("The Internet of Things"). Access her e-books and videos.

Twitter: @CKsays