Just 12% of Senior Marketers See Value in Consumer-Generated Media

Survey: Website Building Ranks as Most-Used New-Media Tool

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Consumer-generated media and new media may be gaining popularity, but senior marketers say they'll stick with disciplines such as website production and consumer feedback, according to the fifth annual PRWeek/Manning Selvage & Lee Marketing Management Survey.
The advertising industry's ROI-driven attitude is why many marketers are wary of using new media or consumer-generated media.
The advertising industry's ROI-driven attitude is why many marketers are wary of using new media or consumer-generated media.

Not very important
Although the survey lumped in CGM and new media with hot networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube, only 12% of senior marketers said CGM is "very important" to their marketing platforms. Still, that's a 7.5% increase from 2006. About 45% said it's somewhat important, and 14% said CGM is not important. The survey, which polled 279 U.S. chief marketing officers, VPs of marketing, and marketing directors and managers, focused on new media/CGM, integrated marketing and industry ethics.

A majority, 71%, said website building was their most-used new-media/CGM strategy, down 2.3% from the year before. Consumer feedback for marketing/product strategies ranked second, with 50%.

"I think they're defining it in a different way," said Mark Hass, global chief executive officer of Manning Selvage & Lee. "They're talking about websites to get consumer feedback. What I'm talking about is the social media, those types of sites where consumers create content."

Ahead of the competition
Marketers' main reason for using new media/CGM was to be innovative and ahead of the competition in pushing the latest marketing trend, cited by 36% of marketers. Many also said CGM saves money compared with traditional advertising and marketing, a reason cited by 32% of respondents.

Yet the survey showed that the advertising industry is not taking advantage of new media/CGM. One reason may be hesitation to give the consumer more control. Only 22% said they were "very willing" to allow consumers more control. Others said it could harm their businesses and there is no clear return on investment.

The advertising industry's ROI-driven attitude is why many marketers are wary of using new media/CGM, Mr. Hass said. "ROI is a convenient explanation for not engaging consumers in a very meaningful way," he said. "They're not spending money on new media. This is happening at a time when CGM is exploding as far as impact.

Let them have a say
Half of the survey's respondents said they spend 10% or less on new media/CGM. But as competition for consumers grows, one of the best ways to market to consumers is to let them have a say, Mr. Hass said.

"Whether you like it or not, people in these spaces are helping shape brands," Mr. Hass said. "We're in an age that is shaped by us. Companies and brands need to give control over the direction and identity of their brand. The primary way to give more control is by embracing CGM."
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