New York – (October 22, 2015) – Don’t believe the hype of “real-time marketing,” say senior marketers.
So-called “real-time marketing” (such as “brand newsrooms”) ranked as the most overhyped marketing initiative according to a new survey conducted by the PR Council. The respondents were senior marketing executives who represent major US corporate members of the ANA.
Integrated wins. Native, newsrooms lose.
Traditional news media organizations have nearly all created new divisions to create content for advertising clients. But while the media has chronicled the rapid rise of media, agencies, and companies themselves creating “brand newsrooms” and “native advertising” (content designed to run as paid media), those in charge of marketing strategy appear to be saying that the hype is unwarranted. Half (49%) ranked brand newsrooms as either the #1 or #2 most overhyped marketing approach. Native advertising and social media followed suit as overhyped.
Instead, nearly two-thirds (63%) of senior marketing executives they say their top priority is integrated marketing (coordinating and orchestrating public relations, advertising, digital, social, mobile, data, etc.).
Christopher Graves, chair of the PR Council, and Global Chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations, said “the true test though of the concept of integrated marketing is whether it interweaves thinking from all the various and disparate disciplines and areas of expertise from the very beginning, or whether one function leads and imposes a distortion filter all others must pass through.”
Meanwhile only 4% ranked real-time brand newsrooms as a #1 priority, and none ranked native advertising as the top priority.
But they did not dismiss content marketing as a broader concept. It came in a distant second in terms of strategic priorities with 27% naming it #1 a further 13% ranked it #2).
Why dismiss brand newsrooms but not content marketing? Kathy Cripps, president of the PR Council, said respondents have come to differentiate between tactical dashes and strategic marathons.
Cripps noted that the problem for both media newsrooms and corporate brand newsrooms is “maintaining a high-volume stream of relevant content over a long time.” She suggests that is why the survey respondents differentiated between brand newsrooms and content marketing – the latter being the more comprehensive approach and the former just a tactic within it.
The race for who leads what
Public relations and marketing professionals continue to jockey for who should lead which areas of expertise. The marketers answering this survey left no doubt as to their view that they should own most of it, and said public relations should only lead media & blogger relations, crisis management, and building executives’ public profiles. They felt advertising & marketing should lead on brand narrative, content, social media strategy and influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is one of the hotter areas in the marketing sphere, spawning many new startups and the term ranks as a “breakout” on Google Trends. It, along with mobile marketing, was not seen as overhyped by the survey respondents.
Yet Brian Solis, principal analyst at the Altimeter Group and author of X: Where Experience Meets Design thinks advertisers and public relations professionals interpret the very notion of influencer marketing differently.
“This is the key difference between advertising and public relations,” claims Solis. “Advertising will find a few top celebs, with some of them being internet famous, to become part of a campaign,” said Solis. “PR on the other hand, will find said influencers and nurture longer-term relationships that keep the brand relevant now and in the long term.”
Split on World View (Can traditional marketing still work?)
When asked to select which of two world views each respondent agreed with most, they split nearly down the middle between thinking traditional marketing works, by and large, the same as it has for a long time (48%) versus those thinking we are undergoing big changes and traditional marketing is no longer as effective as new forms such as content marketing and influencer marketing (52%). You would expect such a split to be reflected in their views of what is overhyped and what is a priority. Yet this split did not materially affect their views most things—except one glaring exception. Oddly, among those who believe traditional marketing no longer works, they viewed “brand newsrooms” as even more overhyped than those who believe traditional marketing still works.
Overhyped: Real-time marketing was ranked the most or second most overhyped marketing channel by 49% of respondents, followed by native advertising (36%) and social media and social business (34%).
Integrated Marketing is King: True integrated marketing – PR, advertising, digital, mobile, working together – was rated the most important priority by 63% of marketers, and another 14% ranked it second. Content marketing and big data /analytics were second and third, respectively.
New ways vs. Old ways of Marketing: When asked which works better – traditional marketing or newer approaches – senior marketers were split. Fifty-two percent believe “Things have changed. People are getting more and more cynical and distrustful. They can sense that traditional marketing and are turned off.” The other forty-eight percent believe “Things are pretty much the same as they have been over the last decade or so; great traditional marketing still works, even if it’s supplanted by new forms.”
Who Should Lead? As marketing disciplines increasingly overlap in their scope of work, a question that comes up often is who should lead which channels? Surveyed marketers strongly believe marketing & advertising should lead the brand narrative and social strategies, which includes content marketing, social media strategy and online community management. Public relations, they say, should lead in crisis and issue management, media relations, and executive positioning.