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Digital Marketing on the Social Web: Blog Now or Pay Later

Posted on Apr 23rd, 2009
Written by Lee Odden
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    digital-marketingCompanies world-wide are looking for more creative, high impact and accountable marketing.  To find out how marketers were allocating their marketing efforts, we ran a poll of our 18,000 Online Marketing Blog subscribers to get a handle on what the top digital marketing tactics would be in 2009.

    Poll respondents cast 1559 votes for their 3 top digital marketing tactics (out of 45) for 2009 with Blogging, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization topping the list. Out of the top 10 tactics, 6 fell into the category of Social Media Marketing.

    Companies that don’t have a Social Media Strategy or Roadmap in place now, will most likely fall behind by Q3 or Q4 of this year. I can think of few things more expensive than than having to play catchup, especially in the social media category. You can’t “buy” relationships on the social web.

    Of all the digital marketing tactics voted on, here are the top ten:

    • Blogging (34%)
    • Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
    • Search engine optimization (28%)
    • Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
    • Email marketing (17%)
    • Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
    • Pay per click (14%)
    • Blogger relations (12%)
    • Video marketing (10%)
    • Social media advertising (7%)

    These results are consistent (blogging at the top) with what many companies already involved with social media are engaging in according to this analysis of Peter Kim’s 1,000+ social media marketing examples. From that analysis, the top industry categories currently engaging in social media include: retail, consumer goods & services, high tech, media & entertainment, automotive, financial services, Government and Travel.

    This kind of insight in combination with market intelligence that is vertical or industry specific for a particular company should be instrumental for companies dealing with shrinking marketing budgets and a need to improve long term performance of their online marketing efforts.

    eMarketer posted a new report yesterday about the growth of blogging and opportunity for businesses. Currently, 27.9 million US Internet users have a blog they update at least once per month, and they represent 14% of the Internet population. By 2013, 37.6 million users will update their blogs at least monthly.

    “Blogging activity presents new opportunities for marketers to monitor and influence conversations relevant to their businesses,” says Mr. Verna. “Opportunities no marketer should ignore.”

    Instead of blogs replacing traditional media, although those lines are blurring a bit, traditional online media are starting to adopt and/or add the blogging platform.  Consumers are increasingly familair with and expect the blog format for their news and information.

    By now, most companies have their 2009 online marketing plans in place. Does this ranked order of tactics mean you should change up your online marketing mix? The answer is that digital marketing tactics should match the needs of the situation, company resources, the target market and end consumer preferences. The proper tactical mix for a digital marketing program could be anything from the 45 tactics listed in the poll and still be successful as long as they support a valid strategy.

    Some companies are prepared for digital and social media marketing programs and many are not. To get “ready”, companies need to develop strategic plans and get up to speed on both best and worst practices. Whether those methods of reaching and communicating with customers reconciles with existing marketing plans or not, companies would do well to allocate resources to some level of ongoing education, testing and development of expertise in the social media space.

    What is your company doing to adjust to budgetary challenges, improve marketing performance and long range digital marketing strategy? Are you making changes on the fly? Are you sticking to your guns? We’d love to hear how readers are adjusting to the current marketing environment in the comments.