social media law firm marketing budget

Marketers are spending more than ever on social media, according to Duke University’s CMO Survey.

From the Wall Street Journal’s Nathalie Tadena (@nftadena) reporting on the study:

…[S]pending on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter currently represents 9% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase to more than 13% over the next 12 months. And in the next five years, that percentage is projected to rise to more than 21%.

The study, sponsored by McKinsey & Company and the American Marketing Association and based on responses from 351 top marketing executives, found that spending on digital marketing broadly is expected to jump 11% in the next year while traditional advertising budgets are expected to contract 3.6%.

In a wise move, marketers are outsourcing their technology and infrastructure supporting social media, rather than hiring more social media employees.

Duke …found that respondents’ most recent estimate of in-house social media employees had dropped slightly to an average of three from earlier this year. That’s in addition to an average of two people from outside the company for social media help.

There a few takeaways for law firms.

One, the portion of your marketing budget allocated to social media, including blogging, ought to be increasing — at least if you’re looking to keep pace with corporate America.

Two, outsourcing your technology spend and a portion of your social media staffing spend may make more sense than bringing or maintaining things in house.

Your IT team is not dedicated to blogging and other social media solutions and software. Getting your firm’s people up to speed and dedicating team members to social may cost more than outsourcing and result in lessor performance and/or greater security risks.

Rather than hiring additional marketing personnel dedicated to social media may also be ill advised.

As one CMO for an Am Law 25 firm told me, it would be difficult or impossible for his firm to land a top shelf social media person, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to keep them. He also said it would be prohibitively expensive to develop the training program and materials to educate their lawyers on social media – he’d be better off to outsource it.

And three, making the case for an increased social media may not be easy. Though CMO’s see enough benefit from social media to increase their spend, they still have difficulty proving its effectiveness quantitatively.

You may review the complete survey and associated reports here.

Here’s video review of the survey with Christine Moorman (@chrismoorman), Director of The CMO Survey and a Sr. Professor of Business Administration, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.