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Social Media Savvy "Talent Puddle" in 2010

Forward-looking companies are turning their attention to social media sites, but are neglecting the Mobile Internet channel for deepening customer relationships, according to the latest market study by Econsultancy and digital agency, cScape.

While presence on social networks has almost doubled from 23 to 44 percent of companies and use of micro-blogging has gone up five-fold (from 7 to 35 percent) year-on-year, only 11 percent of companies surveyed are planning a significant investment in the mobile channel.

A large proportion (41 percent) of companies are not planning any investment at all in mobile in 2010, while a further 49 percent are planning only limited investment.

Why is there this inaction, given the increased use of multimedia-enabled mobile smartphones and the groundswell adoption of Mobile Internet apps in 2009?

Over half of marketers blame this inertia on a lack of experienced human resources -- which was also cited as an obstacle to improving online engagement in general in the last 12 months by 52 percent; about the same percentage as last year.

The social media Practitioner limited talent pool is the key roadblock to progress -- upon honest reflection, it's more like a relatively shallow talent puddle, when compared to the abundant availability of legacy marcom Luddites pondering their collective fate.

In addition, while social media usage has blossomed since last year and 61 percent of marketers say that they expect consumers to be less tolerant of poor service over the next year, only a quarter are tapping into user feedback and ratings for product development and innovation.

With 29 percent saying they're encouraged to use social media to build customer dialogue, and yet only 17 percent having processes or workflows in place to enable staff use of social media, it's clear that many companies aren't prepared for the marketing reality in 2010.

Linus Gregoriadis, Econsultancy's Research Director, said "Companies should be thinking hard about their strategies for mobile and for channeling online feedback from customers back into the product development process, but the research suggests that this is not the case."

“Lack of resources, skills and experience are cited as obstacles, but today's customers expect a seamless approach when they deal with companies -- irrespective of whether they are calling them up for information, commenting on a blog or trying to buy something online while on the move."

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