Two thirds of marketing professionals in the UK consider it very important to monitor and manage their online reputation, and more than half believe that channelling marketing communications through a blog is 'quite' or 'very' realistic, according to a survey by Say Communications.
The company's wittily-named 'Blog the Brand Builder' survey found that the marketing professionals polled also voted Twitter and LinkedIn the most popular social networks, with 80% usage. Two out of five also had a blog or a YouTube site, and more than 70% of them considered these 'useful' or 'very useful' tools.
The inspiration for the report was last year's suggestion by the Prime Minister's 'blue sky thinker', Steve Hilton, that government press officers could be replaced with a single blog. According to Say Communications' joint managing director, Louise Stewart-Muir, the idea behind the light-hearted survey was to see if a similar strategy might appeal to cash-strapped marketers.
Asked how they would have responded to Steve Hilton's suggestion to shift communications to a blog, the consensus seemed to be that it offered enormous potential but not at the expense of other disciplines. For example:
- One in five said they would have fired him or 'sent him to Coventry' (ignored him completely);
- More than half would have simply rolled their eyes in derision;
- Almost one in five would have rewarded him;
- Fewer than one in ten would have put forward his name for a knighthood.
The results suggest that for B2B SMEs:
- PR is the most popular communication discipline with increasing focus on thought-leadership. Four out of five businesses considered PR and events as a key part of their marketing communications mix, and three out of five aimed to provide thought-leadership in their industry sectors.
- Social media is increasing in importance for monitoring and engaging with audiences. Around two in five are using social media to engage with their markets and over three quarters are monitoring their reputation online.
- Blogging suits smaller businesses that want to build a brand and thought-leadership profile. Smaller companies are most enthusiastic about publishing information online. Thought-leadership, brand-building and SEO were considered the key benefits of the blogging approach.