While blogs continues to grow in popularity, traditional media remains valuable to the most influential members of the online community as they carry out their roles as information and opinion providers, according to a new survey by Burson-Marsteller. The survey results further emphasize the importance of an integrated approach to reaching the “tech-fluentials,” who use the latest technologies to generate and accelerate word of mouth.
“While blogging and other alternative media continue to gain prominence, traditional media outlets still play the critical role of validating information for the tech-fluentials,” says Jennifer Graham, chair of Burson-Marsteller’s global technology practice. “These opinion leaders may be known for their online presence, but the right mix of traditional and non-traditional media is essential in reaching them.”
About 80 percent of tech-fluentials say they read blogs, but carry out further research on their own to confirm the information they find. A full 64 percent of tech-fluentials fact-check blog entries against news or magazine websites, and 44 percent turn to print articles in newspapers and magazines. While remaining passionate about new communication channels such as blogs, podcasts and social networking sites, tech-fluentials continue to follow and trust traditional media: one-half of tech-fluentials say online news sites (49 percent) and traditional newspapers and magazines (48 percent) are the most credible sources of information about companies.
The new survey further shows tech-fluentials to be highly active offline, providing ample opportunity to tap into their variety of interests to develop event-based, grassroots or other marketing programs. For example, 72 percent of tech-fluentials enjoy dining out, 59 percent like to travel and 43 percent play sports or work out in their free time. For average online adults, these percentages are 61 percent, 37 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
Tech-fluentials also display a strong civic nature; in the last 12 months 74 percent donated money to a charitable cause, 63 percent volunteered time and 43 percent attended a public meeting on town or school affairs. To optimize communications to tech-fluentials, targeted messages can be coordinated across online channels, traditional media and other tailored marketing activities.
“It’s clear that for profound information seekers such as tech-fluentials, strategic communications should take a ‘surround sound’ approach,” said Ame Wadler, chief strategic innovation and integration officer for Burson-Marsteller. “Until recently, there’s been a tendency to neglect the digital space in favor of traditional news media. This survey is telling us that optimal credibility is achieved by delivering critical messages both directly, through online vehicles, as well as with the power of implied endorsement from the fourth estate powers of the traditional news media.”