Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

Some serious insight into the digital revolution

with one comment

It is difficult to describe just how radically digital media have transformed the world of marketing communications. I would rather not even try, except to point out that we are witnessing a profound change in terms of how people behave and communicate.

With this change, it appears, comes the temptation to waffle ad nauseam. Rarely a day goes by without some social media event or another, filled with thoroughly decent people rehashing the same tired examples of digital innovation.

Rather than knock it, what I’ve tried to do at PRWeek (and Digital Media)  over the past year is create a series of features that look at how different aspects of the digital experience are affecting the world of communication.

I think that the two most recent features are of particular importance. The first is the PRWeek/Diffusion Digital Integration Report, a survey into how clients are embracing digital and social media. I had noticed that, despite all the talk, there was relatively little hard data in terms how companies are embracing social media: investment, attitudes, structuring, agency retention.

The results of the survey, which polled almost 130 client budget-holders, are eye-opening. Read the feature for a full breakdown, but I thought I’d pull out my favourite findings here:

(1) Marketing departments continue to lead on social media, but PR agencies are most often retained. Surprisingly, cross-departmental responsibility for social media remains rare, although will that change?

(2) Budgets are increasing, although proportions of overall marketing spend remain low. Unsurprisingly, ROI is still seen as the key barrier to a more widerspread adoption of social media.

(3) Almost a third of clients still want more hard evidence of digital’s potential value. The message that rings loud and clear: social media measurement and evaluation still has some distance to travel before clients are willing to start shelling out more money.

The second feature looks at how the mobile internet is changing communication. There has been plenty of talk about mobile marketing, but precious little about how mobile affects public relations.

Again, I’d suggest reading the feature for a full breakdown, but my key observation is this: Innovation is king. It really doesn’t matter what type of agency you are, but you must be willing to experiment if you want to harness the potential of reaching your audiences on the move. I spoke to PR agencies that have been building apps, for example, and others that are starting to incorpoate location-based services and augmented reality into their consumer comms.

Consumer ambivalence to mobile advertising is well known. So the opportunity for savvy communicators to connect with their audiences via a meaningful user experience is a real one, and cannot be ignored. Even if it does involve Foursquare.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

March 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

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  1. […] Read more here: Some serious insight into the digital revolution « Arun Sudhaman […]

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