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Blogs Don?t Do ?Diddly Squat? for Marketers

March 14th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Are blogs effective marketing tools? Not according to MarketingSherpa.

?Call us cynics,? says an article in Sherpa?s 3/14/05 issue. ?Blogs may be hip and trendy, but they don?t do diddly-squat for most people?s businesses.?

The proof? After 4 years of research, MarketingSherpa found that only 0.03% of the 34.5 million existing blogs are driving sales or prospective customers to their bloggers.

Any bloggers, blogging evangelists, or blogging consultants out there that care to dispute MarketingSherpa?s research ? or their conclusion that blogs have little value as a marketing tool?


This entry was posted on Monday, March 14th, 2005 at 1:02 pm and is filed under Blogging. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

30 responses about “Blogs Don?t Do ?Diddly Squat? for Marketers”

  1. Joel Heffner said:

    It probably is true now…but…so what? Blogging is still in its very early stages. Four years after the printing press was invented…I wonder how many books were actually printed. Whether blogs are good or bad for marketing remains to be seen.


  2. Ray Edwards said:

    While it may be true that most blogs are of no help to marketers, I don’t think that means we should write them off as tools. On average, 1-2% of Direct Mail generates a response – does that mean it’s of no use?

  3. Danny said:

    0.03% of the 34.5 million existing blogs? Isn’t that kind of like declaring Direct Mail a failure because only 0.03% of the total mail handled by the USPS drives sales?

    Those 34.5 million blogs include the personal weblog of practically every 13-25 year old in the World, who are not even remotely interested in driving anyone’s sales.

    Who are those 0.03%, and what are they doing right? Study what works, right?

  4. Bruce DeBoer said:

    I suspect the perceived marketing benefits of blogs have a lot to do with expectations. If you expect a blog to drive sales in a measureable fashion similar to Direct Mail or pay per click, I think you’ll be disappointed; although 3% sounds pretty good to me.

    On the other hand, a boot strapping start up can gain some recognition through blogs and a large corporation can gain brand appeal and necessary customer feedback through blogs.

    Not a bad start considering we are all experimenting at this point. Right Bob?

  5. John Jantsch said:

    Bob, All I can do is use my own experience and that of several clients who can attribute 6 figure revenue increases to their blogs.

    The problem with these “metrics” folks is that you can make the numbers say anything you want. Blogs are not THE marketing tool. They are a proven tool to further leverage other marketing efforts. By themselves they are like an ad without a headline (that was for you)

    Combined with effective advertising, public relations, web strategy and content – they are a killer tool to weave it all together.

  6. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    In the early days of the Internet, the joke was that the only people making money on the Web were those writing, consulting and leading seminars on how to make money on the Web.

    But as time went on, non-gurus started to rake in the cash. Today, no one can dispute that the Internet is a profitable medium.

    Now there’s a lively group of writers, consultants and speakers who are making money telling others how to make money with Blogs.

    Will history repeat itself?

    I don’t believe anyone can answer that question with authority. Only time will tell.

  7. John said:

    Marketing Sherpa doesn’t have the authority to make any claims like . They don’t have access to the data on all 34.5 million existing blogs.

    Even if they did… most companies haven’t put the tracking in place on their blog efforts to understand how many direct sales or prospects are coming from blogging.

    And don’t forget about “branding.” I know the mere mention of the word makes most direct marketers cringe… But people who advertise on TV seem to have faith in it.

  8. Jeremy Markum said:

    I have used my blog and its auto RSS feature to boost one of my sites to number one in Yahoo, MSN, and pretty much everything but google for a certain keyword. Pre-blog, I didn’t rank. You think I got a few sales from those #1 rankings? You bet I did…

  9. Pat said:

    Maybe that data is true, maybe it isn’t, but I personally have had success on two blogs driving sales directly from the blogs in amounts that make the blogs definitely worth while.

  10. DA said:

    Can’t imagine that “MarektingSherpa”‘s nonsensical comments were meant to do much more than spark banter in a desparate attempt to have someone actually visit ’em. By the way, what are they sellin’? 😉

    shameless plug to follow (& we ain’t sellin’ nuttin’):

  11. Anne Holland said:

    Thanks for the publicity Bob! For everyone who didn’t understand the context of the quote Bob used from us, it was the lead-in to a Case Study we published on a Blog marketing campaign that is working quite well. Our reporters have been scouring the marketing world looking for blogs that work as revenue generators for anything besides Adsense ads and marketing consultants since 2000. We’ve managed to find fewer than a couple of hundred, and published full-throttle Case Studies on about half a dozen of these. Our estimate of maybe 1,000 blogs really working to help businesses grow (vs vanity blogs, ad-based blogs, or biz blogs that don’t move the needle) was a fairly generous one. Considering that the tactic is more than a decade old now, that’s not a very impressive track record.

  12. Jason said:

    Obviously Marketing Sherpa is trying to drive their own sales. Yet a moment’s thought indicates their “research” is flawed. Danny above, pointed out what is wrong with their methodology.

    Knowing that their study isn’t worth the time it took to write, the real question is would you pay Marketing Sherpa to help you drive your sales when they can’t even produce quality marketing research?

  13. Susan Getgood said:

    I know lots of people who say advertising doesn’t work either, which doesn’t explain the cost (or desirability) of a Super Bowl ad 🙂

    Seriously, you can use/create numbers to prove anything you want. How does the old saying go? “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.”

    I am not for a minute suggesting that MarketingSherpa’s research is bad, faulty or a lie. In fact, I think it is great that some people are skeptical and make all of us think about the definition of success we are looking for from ANY MARKETING TOOL. Blog, direct mail, ad or whatever.

    However, I do think it is too soon to say categorically that “blogs don’t work.” It is too soon to say. Some will. Some won’t. Just like any other marketing tool or campaign.

  14. ron clark said:

    I’m confused. Bob says Sherpa claims only .03% of 34.5 million blogs are driving sales. Maybe it’s because i use the “old” math but that translates to 1,035,000 blogs that SRE working. Yet Sherpa(?) (comment 11) claims they have only located 200 and give a generous estimate of 1,000 they think are working. Which is it.

  15. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    Could be that not as many marketers are utilizing blogs as are the average Jane or Joe. Still too early to tell in my book.

  16. Marienne Botha said:

    Working in the marketing research industry and knowing how some research tools are used (and abused), I am quite amused at Marketing Sherpa’s assertions.
    They probably paid some consultant to do desk research to locate those ‘blogs that work as revenue generators’ and then, finding their ‘fewer than a couple of hundred’ in two days’ time, they grabbed the most impressive looking ones, got a research executive to do ‘case studies’ and weighted the results up to population.
    Good research, guys. Your results must surely be on-the-dot for this one. I am just wondering if anyone else would want to use you for marketing research if this is the way you are going about it …

  17. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    Marienne, you’re making a HUGE assumption about MarketingSherpa’s research methodology, and then criticizing them based on that assumption. Is that fair?

  18. Marienne Botha said:

    Steve, now you’re assuming that I made an assumption…
    Fact remains, by analysing their reportage on the whole, it is clear that their methodology – or the way they report on their methodology – is not quite valid.
    You simply cannot ‘locate a few hundred’ items, look closely at ‘half a dozen’ of them and then weight your findings up to a population of millions!

  19. steven streight aka vaspers the grate said:

    please practice deep linking friend.

    when I clicked on Marketing Sherpa I was taken to the main page, instead of the article you quoted.

    very frustrating.

    deep link for direct think.

    thanks, friend, fellow copywriter. you is cool.

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