Survey: Shift to Digital, Pull, Social Marketing

Posted on 9/11/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A recent Sapient survey offers another indication of the new direction of advertising, communication and information-sharing. Participants included more than 200 chief marketing officers and senior marketing professionals, all responsible for managing multiple-channel digital marketing budgets. Respondents were asked to list the top 10 qualities they expected their advertising and marketing agencies to exhibit in the coming year.

The number one request was "greater knowledge of the digital space." More than a third of marketers believe their current agency may not be ready to effectively market their brand in the digital space. Close to half (45%) have switched or plan to switch agencies for one with greater digital knowledge.

The majority (90%) of respondents agree that it is more important to use pull transactions, such as social media and online communities, rather than push campaigns. In order to do this effectively, marketers believe that agency employees should be regularly using the technologies they are recommending—such as Facebook, Flickr, wikis and blogs—in their personal social-media mix. Pull transactions not only reduce the cost of sales, but are also viewed as much more effective in today’s environment.

There are several implications here for the stock photo industry.

The clients of our clients—many of the advertising and marketing agencies we have been selling to—may change dramatically in the next year. That could lead to big changes in the kind of imagery our clients need.

Digital marketing is a top priority for marketing professionals. If they are going to spend more of their budgets digitally, they will spend less on print.

Push marketing strategies are on the decline. What friends tell the consumer has much more influence than hype from someone trying to make a sale. Traditional stock agencies are still trying to use push marketing, while the microstock companies have mastered the pull of using social media and online communities. Based on customer growth, it is easy to see which strategy works better. Traditional agencies must find a way to effectively use social media and online communities to bring in the customers, and they must find the solution fast.

Social media and online community contributors will not be able to afford to pay much for the images they use. Traditional sellers must find a way to make images available to these customers or stand by and watch while much of their market disappears. If lower prices are not going to be offset by volume increases, then producers need to find some other source of guaranteed revenue.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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