Social Media Marketing Lags in Europe, Or Does It?

Read this “Global Survey” report from Unica this week on the State of Marketing in 2010 and it included a tid-bit on about how marketers are using (or are not using) Social Media around the world. As you would expect Europe in general lags North America currently by a healthy dose. According to the report 58% in North America use Social Media and just 34% in Europe. Though plans are underway to catch up.

I agree. I wrote over a year ago about my Eastern European colleagues’ lack of Facebook usage, and I don’t see a dramatic uptick in usage there. And from recent conversations about our 2010 plans, we are going to focus more on advancing our use of email than we are on expanding into social media.  From our perspective that has more to do with the usage patterns of our target audience in each of the countries we operate in, than it does with the relative merit of various channels. Perhaps it would be different if we were a B2C product rather than a B2B service.

Where I have issue is with the concept of this being a global survey.  46% of 155 respondents to the Unica Survey were “from Europe.” I am not really sure what to do with that data.  Global doesn’t only mean Europe and North America, what about Asia? Latin America?  Russia? On and on.

And digging further into the footnotes, I see that by Europe they actually only mean 12 countries (or an average of 6 responses per country). So is that 12 countries in Western Europe? Is Northern Europe included? What about Eastern Europe?  There are 27 countries in the EU today so we know it’s not just the EU member states.

It’s surely not my intention to call out Unica’s marketing team. Trust me I probably would have done the same thing in clubbing together Europe to make a broader point.  But in this case, it becomes counter-productive and perhaps dilutes the overall message of their pretty interesting report in general.

The fact remains, you still can’t market to “Europe.” You need to look deeply into the heart of each country and conduct the same market analysis and make the same strategic plans for each one based on the uniqueness of each market. Assuming the 72 total European respondents are making the same individual strategic decisions that we are, don’t make the mistake of relying on the experiences of 6 people per country spread across 12 countries to set your own strategic course.

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