Making the Most of Your Marketing DNA
By Simon McLain and Jonathan Copulsky
Sunday, 18th March 2012
Seven hundred thirty eight million people live in Europe, 590 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean region, 345 million live in North America, and 37  million live in Oceania.1

When it comes to counting heads, however, social media site Facebook trumps five of the world's seven continents with more than 800 million users,2 spanning 70 languages and as many as 500 million active users in a single day. And more than 350 million of these users access Facebook through a mobile device each month.3  Facebook's user count is up from 500  million a year ago and 300 million  two years ago.4

Meanwhile, in our world of almost 7 billion inhabitants, there are now over 5 billion mobile subscribers.5 Worldwide 3G subscribers grew 35 percent between 2009 and 2010 to 726 million,6 while 4G lurks on the horizon. Global consumers downloaded 300 million mobile apps in 2009, increasing by more than 16 times to 5 billion in 2010.7

From a marketing perspective, the time to ask whether social media and mobile matters is long past. Although companies now allocate only 7.1 percent of their marketing budgets to social media spending, pundits expect that number to increase to 17.5 percent over the next five years.8 Worldwide mobile advertising revenue is forecasted to reach $3.3 billion in 2011, more than double the $1.6 billion in 2010, and grow to $20.6 billion by 2015.9 According to Gartner's Stephanie Baghdassarian, "mobile advertising is now recognized as an opportunity for brands, advertisers and publishers to engage consumers in a targeted and contextual manner, improving returns."10

But with the vast marketing reach and potential of social media and mobile, the question of how to invest is more relevant than ever. Is it better to invest in social or mobile? Is there a higher return on developing a mobile app to enable customers to shop on-the-go, or building and marketing an online community to crowdsource innovative product ideas? Or is it more effective to synchronize an organization's various social and mobile programs to facilitate a seamless and integrated customer experience?

How can marketers make better choices around the richer-than-ever set of marketing investment options, particularly when it comes to social media and mobile?

Sprinter or marathoner?

We use the term "Marketing DNA" to help organizations understand how they can take a more systematic and structured approach to choosing among available marketing options.

DNA contains the genetic instructions for how organisms develop and function. At one level, human beings are remarkably similar. Just look at similarities in our skeletal structure, key organs and physiology. Nevertheless, the seemingly small variations in our DNA manifest themselves in significant differences, ranging from our physical features to our intellectual abilities and athletic prowess.

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