For the past 3 weeks, Forrester has sponsored a B2B marketing survey on Web 2.0 and Customer Marketing Program Trends. So far, we have received 185 responses from marketers like you. I thought you might like to see a preview of one of the more interesting findings.
When it comes to Social Media use and Web 2.0, B2B marketers I talk with usually raise the topic of blogging. They want to know "who is doing it well?" and "what benefits have they achieved?" In the survey, when we asked "Which statement BEST describes your corporate experience with blogging so far? (Please select one response)," B2B marketers told us:
I was just talking with Suresh Vittal on my team about how to project interactive marketer investments in technology. In some cases in the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, we include technology investments in our projections of marketer spend on a given channel (for example, email marketing spend includes investment in email message delivery). But for the most part, the IM forecast is based on current and projected media spend.
So the conversation Suresh and I had was to think through enough assumptions, to estimate how much marketers invest in technology.
1) It overlapped with channels I was already sizing. For many marketers affiliate spending includes a portion of their search marketing budget.
2) It is often funded as a channel effort, rather than as a media buy. I also learned that for many marketers, affiliate marketing is actually a sales or distribution channel, rather than a medium where they can place ads. This made it not an accurate piece for me to include in the report, which I intended to match as closely as possible to the interactive channels that actually make up firms' interactive marketing budgets.
Create a new online advertising platform, called Platform A, which will integrate the media and technologies across all of AOL's current ad networks including Advertising.com, TACODA, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and ADTECH
Relocate its corporate headquarters to New York City
I see this announcement as further fodder for my argument that online advertising is trenching for a comeback, and moving forward will be the backbone of every marketing campaign. Particular to AOL, I think this is interesting timing for a very aggressive move. Leadership in the online advertising space was AOL's to lose 5 years ago and that is exactly what they did. The decision to create an integrated marketing platform and locate themselves where the advertisers are is a great move, but is it too little too late? Why now for AOL? Why didn't they make a decision of this scale years ago before they fell into fourth place in the race?
The announcment that Yahoo is buying ad network Blue Lithium comes at a ponderous time for me since I'm just wrapping up the research for Forrester's forecast of Interactive Marketing Spending and (report is due Sept 28). Per that research, I'm finding that indeed interactive budgets are on their way up with marketers (still) most interested in search and (newly interested in) online video. Display ads continue to be a part of almost all online campaigns and yet no marketer has much to say about them. Marketers and vendors alike have commented that display ads as a medium have undersold themselves since the early 2000s. Basically display ads have capabilities that no marketer knows/cares about. Or that has not yet been fully exploited.
I'm right in the middle of researching Forrester's Interactive Marketing Forecast -- our big sizing report which forecasts spending in different interactive channels five years into the future. In addition to leveraging a quantitative study of marketers (which some of you helped with -- thanks!), I'm also conducting a series of interviews with media providers, vendors, agencies and interactive marketing experts to help me prioritize trends and build out an accurate market sizing.
Last week as part of my research I spoke to Jim Nail, ex-Forrester analyst and current CMO of TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony and Jeff Lanctot, VP of Media and Client Services for Avenue A/Razorfish. Both independently mentioned a key theme defining the future of interactive marketing which I've been noodling on since my conversations with them. I'm paraphrasing a bit, but the theme is that of immersive marketing -- that is the idea of creating marketing programs that:
Create a cohesive and all-encompassing experience across any channel where the customer is.
I've had a number of recent client inquiries about search engine optimization (SEO), so I thought it would be worth sharing some of the best practices I've assembled.
First off, just a little color on the role SEO is currently playing in the search marketing landscape. I always recommend investing in SEO before paid search because it: 1) http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,39441,00.html one-time investment (although you'll have some cost for ongoing maintenance of your site once you get it optimized) that continues to pay off for years and 2) It takes a few months to get your site optimized and start seeing results. So get your SEO started, buy some paid search ads to drive immediate traffic and test keywords, and in 6 months or so, you should have enough data and experience to have some pretty good integrated SEO/SEM programs running together.
My take is that this is all much ado about nothing. Why?
*Google is an easy target. Google is so large, and has seen such rapid growth over the last 3 years, that we all (competitors, consumers, government officials, press, industry analysts) can't help but be a little suspicious of them. And maybe a little jealous of their wealth and presence.
Forrester encourages B2B marketers to use online video, recorded Web seminars, and other rich media to educate, train, and persuade buyers. Through testimonials and case studies, video creates a lasting impression and emotional bond that is important in business marketing. It’s also less risky to experiment with this medium with the cost of recording decreasing.
But how far can B2B marketers push video from traditional interview or demonstration formats into non-traditional word-of-mouth? Clients see consumer-oriented video ads on YouTube and ask if we see viral video work in business marketing. The answer? We don’t see much.
Exceptions do arise: Scalent VP of Marketing and friend, Kevin Epstein, sent me an April Fool’s joke video his team put together, and – on a whim – decided to post on YouTube. Kevin wrote about this decision on his blog and I asked Forrester’s marketing research team to look and weigh in. Our take: video may become the digital tchotchke: logo-emblazoned pens, toys, and other useless items companies give to prospects or hand out at tradeshows.