Big Marketers Choose Email Over Facebook, MySpace

Posted on 12/2/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Internet now holds the highest share of total image uses, but image producers remain unable to accurately quantify the size of this market segment. Similarly little information is available on image buyers and image-use venues. A recent Epsilon survey offers another piece of this still-evolving puzzle, demonstrating that clients responsible for the highest traditional revenues—big corporations with million- and billion-dollar marketing budgets—prefer more proven, though often more costly social-media tools.

Despite the popularity of social networks, marketing dollars have not followed millions of users. In a survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Relations and Media, over a quarter (27%) of the participating 180 chief marketing executives identified social networking and word-of-mouth as the tools they would most like to introduce to their marketing mix to compensate for anticipated budget cuts. However, more than half (55%) of respondents also said they had low current interest in actually incorporating networking Web sites into their plans.

The responding CMOs represented brands with revenues between $250 million and over $10 billion. A third of these big marketers said they had “no interest at all” in integrating Facebook and MySpace into their marketing plans, and an additional 22% said they were “not too interested.” Only 35% were either very or somewhat interested, and only 10% had specific plans.

Other social-media tools scored higher, generating interest of 52% of the survey respondents for online forums and Webinars, 47% for Webcasts and podcasts, 47% for email and 37% for blogs. Instead of using Facebok or MySpace profiles as free ad space, big companies are investing in producing their own content.

Epsilon CMO Steve Cone explains that social-networking Web sites’ appeal is limited to high-school and college students. These users are also likely to be turned off by most marketing efforts in communities they perceive as purely personal communication vehicles. Finally, the relative newness of the social-networking channel makes it difficult to determine return on investment.

In contrast, marketers already have plenty of proof that email works. Epsilon’s research says that retailers realize $0.20 in revenue for every email sent. It is, therefore, not surprising that email is the marketing medium that emerged as least likely to see budget cuts—even though 93% of this survey’s respondents anticipate moderate to significant spending cuts and 70% predict a reduction in advertising spending in 2009.

For traditional clients, online image uses appear to be following the pattern established in traditional media. Big brands will be selective, measured—and most lucrative from the image producer’s point of view. Big marketers will remain willing to pay traditional—or, perhaps more accurately, higher-than-microstock—royalties for online image uses. There is, therefore, the chance that the indisputably higher volume of online uses may offset the generally lower Web-use licensing fee.

Though Webinars, Webcasts and other interactive formats interest marketers, the volume of such promotions does not approach email marketing and blogging. Multimedia is more expensive and labor-intensive, and marketing experts are still debating the merits of some of the newer tools. As such, most images purchased by large companies and their agencies will be used in email, corporate blogs and other paid and professionally produced content.

What has already changed, however, is the market share of these high-end uses. The Internet gave birth to a host of new industries, activities—and non-traditional image buyers. Their effect on image licensing and share of revenue has yet to be definitively quantified.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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