Larry BraunerI heard some excellent speakers present their case studies at the Search and Social Leadership Forum hosted by the Business Development Institute and NYU last week.

To wrap up the morning event, three speakers, Julie Sun, Thomas Hoehn and Jordan Glogau sat in a panel to answer questions posed by Veronica Fielding, the moderator, and afterward by attendees.

During two of the earlier talks, an increase in share of voice was cited as evidence that the presenters’ social media programs had been successful.

When my turn came to query the panel, I asked whether any formal offline marketing research had been performed to measure the effectiveness of their social media marketing endeavors. Having spent most of my career at Eric Marder Associates, a once preeminent quantitative marketing research firm, I could not let this question go by.

Besides focus groups, no offline marketing research had been done. I was surprised, frankly, that the type of quantitative marketing research I was alluding to, with controlled experimentation, didn’t even seem to be on the radar of the panelists or the audience, especially with many working at big corporations.

When I returned home, I noticed that What You’re Missing By Measuring Social Media ROI Online had been posted by Tom Webster on Brand Savant that very day. I suggest you read it. I can’t yet say whether I agree with every point Tom made, but I can say with certainty that I totally agree with the spirit of his article.

It is only fair to point out that valid marketing research is costly, but how else can we satisfactorily gauge the effectiveness of our large social media marketing initiatives?

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