Survey Says: Readers Like Stories About Studies


With six of this reporter’s top-read stories this year focusing on studies, you don’t have to hire a research firm to tell you that marketing executives like reading about research. Stories about social media also seemed to draw readers.

1) The top-read story, which was probably music to social media firms’ ears, covered both those categories. A Duke University study predicts that Marketers Plan To Increase Social Media Spend.

CMOs are planning to increase their spending on social media substantially over the next five years. The 249 CMOs of U.S. companies said they will increase their spending on social media from its current level of 7.1% of their overall marketing budget to 10.1% over the next year and to 17.5% in the next five years.



2) New approaches to advertising also attracted reader interest with Forever 21 Hosts Holographic Fashion Shows coming in second. In a new twist on minimizing the “oops” factor, fashion retailer Forever 21 announced it was hosting a series of unique fashion shows worldwide that use holographic images instead of live models.

The promotion, conceived and produced with the help of digital agency space150, kicked off in Vienna, Austria. A total of eight shows were scheduled, including two in Brussels and London. A New York show in the fall was the only U.S. show scheduled.

3) Studies are good for telling you not just what to do, but what not to do. MIT: Personalized Ads Don't Always Work  hypothesized that contrary to popular practice, personalized ads not only don't drive conversions, but are likely to be ignored.  MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Catherine Tucker and London Business School Prof. Anja Lambrecht said that while advertisers have the ability to collect huge amounts of data about each individual, it’s not always best to target so specifically.

4) Tied nicely to the number one story about the increase in social media spending is another study that theorizes that Social Media Influences Brand Reputation because it plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products. Research from Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite indicates that consumers are very much part of the decision funnel for other consumers, says Radha Subramanyam, SVP of media and advertising analytics, NM Incite.

“What is really surprising is not how many people are reading consumer-generated reviews today, but the vast swaths of people who are actively creating such content,” Subramanyam told Marketing Daily. “And the number one motivation for consumers is not criticism, but praise -- consumers want to commend brands and companies for a job well done.”

5) If you can’t go celebrity, go home. Use of celebrity endorsers continued to be popular in 2011, leading to my fifth-highest read story Puma Enlists Actress For 'Project Pink'.

"Vampire Diaries" actress Nina Dobrev joined sports brand Puma in kicking off its second year of "Project Pink."

The brand calls it a "more-than-just-October initiative." (Many brands reserve their "fight against breast cancer" efforts for that month.) Puma's year-round effort was launched in 2010 in response to a group of female soccer athletes who were looking to support breast cancer awareness and research.

6) It would appear social media seemed to tap readers’ interest with my sixth-most read story being about Jackson Hewitt Bows Social Media Contests (Yes, 2) .

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service ran both a sweepstakes and a contest with more than $25,000 in cash prizes.  Consumers can enter one or both social media initiatives between now and April 15 for a chance to win a $1,000 weekly cash prize through the "Jackson Hewitt's Got My Back" photo sweepstakes or $20,000 in total cash prizes through "Win Win with the Big Check" video contest.

The goal of the two contests was to encourage consumers to interact with the brand both online and offline.

7) A viral video, spread by, you guessed it, social media was the topic of Summer's Eve Declares 'That's Vaginal!'

The viral video and a revamped Web site hinted of what the feminine hygiene brand had planned for a brand relaunch in July.

The feminine hygiene product manufacturer announced ownership of the "That's Vaginal!" video. The initially unbranded, tongue-in-cheek video (which attempts to replace the old idiom, "That's awesome!" with the new phrase, "That's vaginal!") was virally released as the first step in the company's effort to invigorate the brand.

8-10) Three studies finished out my top ten most-read stories. Men Defy Marketing Stereotypes declared that men play a crucial role in purchasing decisions -- both big and small -- that defies stereotypes, according the survey about male shopping habits. The web-based survey of 13,000 American adults who listen to rock, alternative, classic rock and sports radio stations, reveals that companies marketing and advertising products to a broad market might need to re-think their long-held assumptions about the value of men.

The "Marketing To Men" survey was conceived by Southfield, Mich.-based research and consulting firm Jacobs Media in response to the trend of media buying demographics shifting away from men and toward women. Many advertisers share the misplaced belief that women are responsible for the lion's share of household purchasing decisions, according to the research firm.

It seems like obvious, but in case you were wondering, Good Customer Service Earns Rewards

Consumers will spend more with companies that provide great service, according to the new American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, a survey conducted in the U.S. and nine other countries exploring attitudes and preferences toward customer service.

In a stronger economic environment, 70% of the Americans surveyed are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This is up substantially from 2010, when 58% of Americans said they would spend an average of 9% more with companies that deliver great service.

But despite the greater value Americans are placing on customer service, many businesses don't seem to be making the grade with consumers. In fact, 60% of Americans believe businesses haven't increased their focus on providing good customer service -- up from 55% in 2010. Among this group, 26% think companies are actually paying less attention to service.

Finally, in the “no big shocker” category, German Study: Tobacco Marketing Lures Teens shows that tobacco marketing entices teens to smoke.

Of the 2,102 public school students in Germany surveyed, 277 young people who had never smoked before took up the habit after viewing tobacco advertising. Those who saw the most ads were 46% more likely to try cigarettes than those who saw no tobacco ads, according to the research.

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