TODD SMITH’S SPIN CYCLE: New PR and marketing study busts myths on industries

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

By Todd Smith

Some commonly held beliefs about PR and marketing – especially content marketing and SEO adoption – are more myth than reality according to a comprehensive study on industry trends conducted recently by Vocus, a public relations and marketing software company, and Market Connections Inc., a research firm based in Virginia.

The results indicate that progressive strides are being made in the two constantly evolving industries.

Myth 1: Everyone has a content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is a hot topic because both marketing and PR professionals are tasked with creating “owned” content: blog posts, events, market research, infographics and more. As a result, most professionals believe that everyone else is actively using content marketing as a strategy. The reality is different. This study finds that just a bit more than half (60 percent) of respondents and/or their clients have a content marketing strategy. Only 19 percent plan to add such a strategy in the upcoming year.

Myth 2: Marketing automation is too complex, costly and time-consuming to implement.

Many PR and marketing professionals believe marketing automation software is too expensive (49 percent) requires in-depth technical skills (40 percent), or demands excessive amounts of time to implement and use (34 percent). Marketing automation, though, tends to ease many of the issues that prevent marketers and PR professionals from purchasing the systems in the first place. Only 37 percent of marketers with automation systems cite budgeting as a challenge. Thus, a chicken and egg situation arises. Marketing automation produces other benefits, such as increased ROI and campaign management. Marketing and PR professionals with marketing automation solutions see improved sales conversions (62 percent) and higher quality leads (54 percent).

Myth 3: PR practitioners are adopting all the latest digital tactics.

PR pros are exploring new tactics such as native advertising, but only half are investing in mainstays like SEO (49 percent) or content marketing (53 percent). More alarming is the lack of investment in mobile; only 34 percent have a mobile engagement strategy. At the same time, PR practitioners are integrating social into their media relations at an equal or better pace. Surveyed PR pros say they use social for pitching (34 percent), sharing earned media coverage (55 percent), and following trends and breaking news (64 percent).

Myth 4: Social media pros don’t care about ROI.

This research busts the myth that social media pros only care about fluff metrics such as “likes” and “follows.” Thirty-two percent of self-described social media leaders assess increased revenue per customer in contrast to 21 percent of PR practitioners and 22 percent of traditional marketers.

Myth 5: Blogging is essential.

Despite the commonly held belief that blogging is essential, many marketing and PR executives find the channel to be one of the most ineffective. Only 35 percent of surveyed respondents rank blogging as a 4 or 5 (highest). They find websites, e-mail, events, social media and media relations to be much more successful. The issue with blogging may have to do with the time and manpower required to do it well. Blogging well demands daily or almost daily frequency and consistent quality factors that are problematic when competing with news publications and established blogs or with businesses and organizations that have more resources available to them. Because of that, many marketers and PR professionals focus their attention and efforts elsewhere.

Myth 6: Traditional media is dead.

While it’s true that marketing and PR execs are increasing their use of digital media, it is not true that traditional media is dead. The survey findings show that the fourth most-used marketing and PR tactic is print, radio and broadcast advertising (58 percent). Events, too, are on the rise. Seventy-nine percent of PR, marketing and advertising agencies find them to be worthwhile endeavors, perhaps because they blend traditional and digital. Live events provide people with rally points, resulting in opportunities for content creation before, during and after, as well as for tracking and reporting results.

Confidence In News Media At Record Lows

The faith that Americans have in major news media — television, newspapers and the Internet — is at or tied with record lows, a new Gallup poll found.

Confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half since its 1979 peak of 51 percent, while trust in TV news has slipped from its high of 46 percent in 1993, the first year that Gallup measured the sentiment. Gallup’s only previous measure of Internet news was in 1999, when confidence was at 21 percent, little different from today. The June poll did not measure confidence in radio news. Confidence in newspapers differs widely between liberals and conservatives, the survey finds. Only 15 percent of the self-identified conservatives polled say they have a great deal of confidence in newspapers, tied with a 10-year low.

By comparison, 34 percent of liberals express confidence in newspapers. Twenty-four percent of moderates say they have confidence in newspapers. At 19 percent, conservatives are slightly more likely than liberals (15 percent) to express confidence in TV news.

The news media have changed dramatically since Gallup first began measuring the public’s confidence in newspapers and TV news decades ago. Newspaper circulation continues to shrink, with the University of Southern California now estimating that in five years most print newspapers will no longer exist. Cable-news networks continue to proliferate, and news from the Internet — still a relatively young medium — now figures prominently in the average American’s news diet.

Yahoo Snags Veteran Investigative Reporter To Lead New Unit

Yahoo has hired veteran investigative reporter Michael Isikoff to lead a new investigative unit of its web portal.

Isikoff recently left NBC News, where he appeared frequently on-air to comment on national current affairs around the war on terror. He has also been at Newsweek, which laid off dozens of journalists after ending its print incarnation, but is best known for his leading role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal with President Clinton of the 1990s, when he was at The Washington Post.

The hire, and the ambition for a site known mainly for aggregation and engineering prowess to start an investigative unit, is the latest gambit for Yahoo, which has set its sights to become a leader in news content. Megan Liberman, editor-in-chief of Yahoo News, and a former deputy editor at The New York Times, has also recently hired the Times’ David Pogue, news anchor Katie Couric and the political writer Matt Bai.

Bite Out Of The Mic | Luis Suarez & The Bite Heard Round The World

The World Cup has been a global branding success as the world’s eyes are tuned to the games pitting the best soccer teams in the land. However, one incident literally took a bite out of all the positive PR and global good will. Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez gave the sport – and his sponsor, Adidas – a huge marketing black eye when in the must-win match for Uruguay, Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. To make matters worse for Adidas, many of the company’s World Cup promotions depict Suarez with his mouth wide open. FIFA quickly investigated the incident and banned Suarez from all soccer activities and stadiums for four months, suspended him from Uruguay’s next nine internationals and fined him. He deserved that, and perhaps more. For that, he gets a Tarnished Mic with a bite taken out of it!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

 

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