Vocus worked with Virginia-based Market Connections, Inc., an independent research firm, to understand how social and digital media are changing marketing and PR. We discovered that some commonly held beliefs about content marketing and SEO adoption are more myth than reality. That being said, the results showed us that progressive strides are being made in the two 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. Our study finds that just a bit more than half (60%) of respondents and/or their clients have a content marketing strategy. Only 19% 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%), requires in-depth technical skills (40%), or demands excessive amounts of time to implement and use (34%).
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% 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%) and higher quality leads (54%).
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%) or content marketing (53%). More alarming is the lack of investment in mobile; only 34% have a mobile engagement strategy.
At the same time, PR pros are integrating social into their media relations at an equal or better pace. Surveyed PR pros say they use social for pitching (34%), sharing earned media coverage (55%), and following trends and breaking news (64%).
Myth 4: Social media pros don't care about ROI.
Our 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 pros assess increased revenue per customer in contrast to 21% of PR practitioners and 22% of traditional marketers.
Myth 5: Blogging is essential.
Despite the commonly held belief that blogging is essential, many marketing and PR professionals find the channel to be one of the most ineffective. Only 35% of surveyed respondents rank blogging as a 4 or 5 (highest). They find websites, email, 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 pros are increasing their use of digital media, it is not true that traditional media is dead. Our findings show that the fourth most-used marketing and PR tactic is print, radio and broadcast advertising (58%).
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.
The results are in, and they reveal a marketing and PR world at odds with the myths surrounding it. The myths suggest that ROI matters little to social media pros; blogging is a beloved tactic; and marketing automation is too expensive and time-intensive.
Our findings portray reality. Many social media pros do care about conversions and sales. Blogging is not a favored tactic; it falls below websites, email and social media. Marketing automation may be viewed askance, but more marketing and PR pros are adapting it. As a result, they are delivering more results, and having an easier time with budgeting and resource restraints. Their success with the tool, as reported in our research, may herald a new digital and social age in which automation and data play larger roles in the marketing and PR mix.
The survey conducted was a national poll of 325 mid- and senior-level marketing and PR professionals, querying a cross-section of agencies, commercial companies and nonprofit organizations. The margin of error is +/- 5% at a 95% confidence level.
About the Sponsor
You Mon Tsang is responsible for driving global product vision and building Vocus' brand in the marketplace. Prior to Vocus, Tsang was CEO of Engine140, a company Vocus acquired and subsequently integrated into its product portfolio. A serial entrepreneur, Tsang also founded and was CEO of Biz360, a market intelligence company that helped Fortune 500 companies compile and analyze media content. He also founded Boxxet, a consumer content aggregation engine with 4 million unique visitors a month, and Milktruck LLC, an Internet pioneer in offline browsing and "push" software.
Vocus provides leading cloud-based public relations and marketing software that enables companies to acquire and retain customers. The company offers products and services to help clients attract and engage prospects, nurture and convert customers, and measure and improve PR and marketing effectiveness. More than 16,000 annual subscription customers across a wide variety of industries use Vocus software. The company is headquartered in Beltsville, MD with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.