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Marketing Spending on social media will surpass traditional marketing spend by the end of 2012, according to a study conducted by TWI Surveys, writes New Communications Review.

260 senior PR and Marketing Communications professionals were surveyed and the results surprised even me.

– 81% of survey respondents said they will spend at least as much on conversational marketing as traditional marketing by 2012.
– Two-thirds of respondents plan to increase their spending on conversational marketing in the next 12 months.

The top obstacles to increased spending on conversational marketing, according to survey respondents:
– Manpower restraints: 51.1%
– Fear of loss of control: 46.9%
– Inadequate metrics: 45.4%
– Culture of their organizations: 43.5%

I would add to these obstacles the following :-
– Agencies do not have the necessary skills to capitalise on emerging marketing trends
– Changes in ownership and consolidation of the large social networks

Perspective: I have always been one to research and explore emerging marketing trends, and whilst I agree that social media spend will account for an increasing portion of marketing spend, I am not sure it will overtake traditional marketing within 5 years. There will also be a convergence in the media channels which will make it increasingly harder to categorise something as traditional or emerging. What I am convinced of is the need for brands to start experimenting with how to engage consumers where they will no doubt be spending more and more of their time.