Social Media and marketing industries are undergoing a paradigm shift, meaning that traditional know-how and workflows are changing and evolving due to the continuous integration of social media into daily processes.

In a survey carried out in February we asked a series of questions to our digital communities to get to know them a little better: and covered everything from their work, their salary, to their social media budgets, social media metrics and so on. As you might have seen in the first part of this series, “US vs. UK”, we got some very interesting and surprising results.

Therefore, in this post we will look at and compare the more traditional jobs in marketing, communications, and PR, versus the new fields and specializations like Social Media and Community Managers.

Traditional marcomms staff is older than the Social Media squad

The first significant difference between the two groups is their experience and age. 58% of Marketing & communications professionals stated that they have more than 5 years of experience, whilst only 42% describe themselves as relative “newbies” with up to 5 years of experience. The image among Social Media & Community Managers actually looks very different: here we have more than 85% claiming that they are less experienced young professionals, whilst a minority of 14% describe themselves as being very experienced.

Current Budgets

As a consequence of the above mentioned situation, current as well as future budgets vary strongly between generations:

First of all it is disappointing to see that the majority of all participants still claims not to have any budget for social media at all. When comparing both generations, results show that roughly 1 in 3 Social Media or Community Manager and nearly 2 in 3 among traditional marcomms have no budget for social media. Furthermore, the proportion of those spending up to 25% of their budget for social media is twice as high among the digital age generation. Last but not least, and although numbers are fairly small, nearly 1 in 10 Social Media / Community Manager spends all of their budget for social media. Among the traditional generation, we find only 1 in 30 doing so.

The numbers confirm a first insight we gathered when doing a similar survey in German speaking markets 3 months ago.

What we found out there goes hand in hand with the new results we just gathered now: Social Media is important and makes up a significant proportion of businesses, but traditional disciplines struggle with adapting the appropriate actions into their business, so that they can really harness the power of social.

Will budgets for social media increase?

They will. However, this is a one-sided development, as more than 42% of traditional marcomms will not increase budgets for social media in the near future, whereas only 20% of the new generation says alike. A thing both generations definitely have in common is that if new budgets will be allocated, the focus lies on social media ads, social media PR, and online ads.

Achieving and measuring success

Surprisingly, there are hardly any differences regarding how the two generations measure their social media activities’ success, and how to achieve it accordingly.

The results back up the stereotypical expectation: traditional marketing generation focuses more on the return on investments and the new, social generation, more so on generating engagement and building strong relations.

Marketing & communications professionals should recognize that while there has been no social media ROI measurement standardized in the industry to date, there are interesting concepts and approaches for developing this measurement in a way that reflects your business objectives. Here is a great article for spawning some ideas.

In generating this engagement we have seen that both the traditional and the digital age generation of marketing concentrate on driving success through staying on top of current events and recognise the importance of engaging their audience with humour and also the power of video as a marketing medium.

On which platforms do traditional vs. new marcomms focus?

It is always interesting to see what platforms are perceived as important, especially since more and more scare tactic articles like “Facebook is dead” and “Facebook has an emigration problem” appear in mainstream media.

To clarify this straight away: yes, Facebook still tops the importance and priority lists of both traditional marcomms, as well as for Social Media & Community Managers. However, there are differences. The majority of the new squad considers both Facebook and Twitter as “very important” with 64% and 72%, respectively. On the contrary, only 32.67% of traditional marketing consider Facebook as “very important”. However, Twitter is still ranked #2 with a weighted average of 3.78/5. No surprises here.

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