Business Blogs – Beyond the Hype
are the most important thing to online marketing since sliced bread.” “Blogs may have their
place… but it’s not in direct marketing.” With such disparate views, whom do
you believe? The blog consultants? Or established “old school” marketing
Barraged with hype, marketers can have a tough time deciding whether blogs
should be part of their arsenal. Listen to the blog consultants? But who
profits from the blog phenomenon? Are we talking “opportunistic agenda” or
about the marketing experts? Is it fair to say that blogging doesn’t belong
in a direct or business-to-business marketing program? Why do so many
veterans bristle at the idea of blogs? Is it simply because of imagined
shortcomings? Or do blogs stump an “old school” sensibility that seeks a
precedent for comparison?
decade ago, with the dawning of the commercial web, marketers faced a
similar dilemma. One faction wrote the web off as negligible, while another
took to the barricades, waving the web banner and proclaiming the demise of
other channels. As we learned, new vehicles do not necessarily replace old
ones -- in fact, they may even supplement them.
“Okay,” you say, “history is well and good. But what happens in the next
senior-management meeting when the CEO asks, ‘Does blogging belong in our
marketing communications program?’ What do I tell him?”
you can tell him blogs are not an effective direct marketing tool. I
doubt they ever will be. Blogging doesn’t allow you to precisely target
audiences or permit any discernable control over who sees your message.
have already proven useful in publicity campaigns, generating word-of-mouth
and, in some cases, media attention. CPG marketers have made the most
effective use of commercial blogs, with highly imaginative efforts
attracting throngs of consumers. There’s no question these blogs have
affected consumer bonding with brands.
can also play an important role in business-to-business marketing.
Management gurus, public speakers and prominent business leaders can wield
some mean business-to-business blogs. Tom Peters, for one, has a very
successful blog. For Peters’ fans, this is a godsend -- access to Peter’s
daily thought process. Of course, the more people who clamor to glean
Peters’ next idea, the more likely his next seminar will sell out and his
next tome will fly off the bookshelves.
blogs right for every company or brand? No.
bloggers, and especially blog consultants, over-hyping blogs? Absolutely.
first group is merely excited about technology. The second benefits from
getting businesspeople to turn off their logic and open their pocket books.
The unfortunate backlash -- wholesale discrediting of blogs by critics who
have either never used them effectively or never used them altogether.
brave new nirvana? Or just a passing fad? The importance of blogging
shouldn’t be overstated or ignored. (Though, currently, the most interesting
aspect of blogs is social, not commercial.) Blogs are unique. They aren’t
direct mail, telemarketing, direct response TV, e-commerce or e-mail
marketing … and that’s fine. Defining what they aren’t doesn’t
diminish their potential in the hands of a smart marketer.
Content Creation Online,
a 2004 study on Internet users creating and reading blogs.
Peter DeLegge is the publisher of Marketing
Today. He has more than fifteen years experience in marketing and marketing
communications management and marketing consulting with Fortune 500 to
medium size corporations. He can be reached at peterdlAThotmailDOTcom.