For all the bluster around how digital marketing will disrupt traditional advertising, some marketers have already started to shift more media dollars toward social sites.
At Ad Age's Digital Conference today, Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill said the footwear maker is spending less than 10% of its marketing dollars on traditional media with the other 90% going toward emerging media.
"Social media is unavoidable," he said, pointing out that on platforms such as Facebook, a brand manager no longer controls the conversation around the brand's image. "When you realize you can contribute to the conversation, the better off you'll be," he explained. While that strategy of standing back may be a risk, it stands as the best tactic in an arena where authenticity is the underlying conceit.
Luxury car maker Lexus is also concentrating more of its media efforts toward digital plays. While TV is a key ad strategy for Lexus, it's "less than 50% of our media spend," CMO Dave Nordstrom said. "Most of the rest is on some form of emerging media." He pointed out Lexus' sponsorships on YouTube and work on its iPad apps. "We've got to go many different ways," he said. "Consumers are consuming media in many different ways, you have to give it to them in bits and bytes the way they're used to consuming it."
Still, other major companies see more direct sales potential in social media. Dell CMO Karen Quintos talked about the the challenges chief information officers face when it comes to procuring products and that they often turn to social networks for help. "Ninety percent of CIOs today are making their purchase decisions through social media," she said. Dell is looking to build that kind of socially driven recommendations into their product descriptions.