Monday, July 31, 2006

Blogs and podcasts cited as effective lead generation tactics for b-to-b marketers


By Carol Krol

Blogs and podcasts are among the top five most effective lead generation tactics for business technology companies, according to an annual survey by MarketingSherpa.

The research company last month polled 1,900 business technology marketing executives by telephone and online.

The top five tactics cited were free trials, Webinars, white papers, blogs and podcasts.
This year's survey results marked the first time blogs made the top five.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Business Blogging Still Bogged Down

Is Big Biz Ready To Blog?

By James Belcher - Senior Analyst

A new report by JupiterResearch says that 34% of large US companies now have a corporate blog, and that another 35% will have one by year-end.

These robust numbers contrast sharply with existing data about corporate blogging. The word "blog" seems inescapable these days, and there is plenty of buzz following the term. Personal blogs now number in the millions, and some public-facing bloggers now wield considerable influence—and some even make money. However, when it comes to businesses blogging, the reality is far behind the hype. Socialtext features a wiki detailing the number of Fortune 500 firms that blog, on an ongoing basis. The current tally: 5.8%.

A 2005 study by eMarketer put the percentage of all large North American businesses that blogged at 4%. The percentage of large firms blogging has not changed much in a year.

Why is this? Why, when blogging is so hyped, and millions of individuals now have their own blogs, is corporate blogging so rare? PR firm Makovsky & Company recently commissioned Harris Interactive to find out. Harris Interactive asked 150 Fortune 1000 senior executives for their opinions on blogs. Only 30% of the respondents even had a thorough understanding of the term "Internet blog." This may shed some light on Jupiter's numbers; many businesses may think that their discussion forum, e-mail newsletter, intranet bulletin board, or other communication constitutes a blog.

More tellingly, almost 8 in 10 respondents believed that their company should have policies about company-sanctioned blogs—and 40% believed they should have policies about blogs that didn't even have anything to do with the company (presumably being written by the firm's own employees). These numbers suggest the top barrier to blogging for businesses: loss of control.

After years of meticulous branding, carefully arranged PR messages, and committee-developed corporate-speak that offends no one—especially lawyers—successful blogging requires ceding message control internally to a single, real voice, and externally to commenters whose feedback may not always be positive.

It is not unthinkable that 70% of large US businesses will blog eventually. However, there's a great distance between 5.8% and 70%; not just in percentage points, but also in business philosophy.

For more information about business blogging sign up to be notified when eMarketer's report The Business of Blogging is published in July.

Time To Take Another Look At Business Blogs

To blog or not to blog?

That was the question. And when it came to business blogs, most marketers felt they had the answer: "No."

"A year ago eMarketer looked at the business of blogging and said that blogs were a one-to-few medium, and they were not practical for most businesses," says James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, The Business of Blogging: A Review. "But over the past year many things have changed, including our opinion."

In fact, it is time for business to reconsider the question of blogging.

"Currently, despite the fact that a new blog is launched every second, very few businesses blog," says Mr. Belcher. "They have hesitated entering a medium where ceding control is one of the ground rules, and as a result, well over 90% of them, both large and small, simply don't blog."

The hurdles that corporations must overcome to blog are formidable.

"After years of meticulous branding, carefully arranged PR messages, and committee-developed corporate-speak that offends no one — especially lawyers — successful blogging requires ceding message control internally to a single, real voice, and externally to commenters whose feedback may not always be positive," says Mr. Belcher.

A growing number of businesses, however, are moving beyond the blogging-as-sales-tool mindset that hindered adoption.

"GM and Sun, notably, are blogging with a one-to-many voice that gives them one of the most low-cost PR options available," says Mr. Belcher.

At the same time, companies are learning, often the hard way, that monitoring blogs is becoming an essential part of brand management.

"A generation for whom sharing information via social networks and personal blogs is second nature will demand being addressed as human beings, without the filters applied by traditional corporate communications," says Mr. Belcher. "Marketers and PR professionals who want to remain relevant in this environment will add blogging and blogosphere literacy to their skill sets, or risk falling behind their customers."

Make certain your business is positioned to take advantage of the changes ahead, read the new eMarketer report, The Business of Blogging: A Review today.


Podcast Audience Gets Older and Wider

Some shifts are detected in the podcast audience.

The findings of the latest Nielsen//NetRatings release on podcasting will come as little surprise to those familiar with the area.

Nielsen//NetRatings reports that 6.6% of the US adult online population — 9.2 million users — have recently downloaded an audio podcast; and 4% — 5.6 million users — recently downloaded a video podcast.

For perspective, the figures put the podcasting audience on a par with US Internet users who publish blogs (4.8%), and online daters, (3.9% of the adult online population).

"The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences," said Michael Lanz, analyst ay Nielsen//NetRatings. "We expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate."

Not surprisingly, downloading podcasts is an activity more popular with young people than old.
Internet users between the ages of 18 and 24 are almost twice as likely as the average user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups. Video podcast downloading, however, trended slightly older, with 25-34 year olds indexing the highest.

Web users above the age of 45 were less likely than average to downlaod podcasts of either sort.
Another report on podcasting, from KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann, which focused on business and IT professionals, reported 72% of respondents saying they had downloaded or listened to podcasts on technology topics on more than one occasion, and 23% saying they do so frequently.

In addition, 32% of the respondents said their podcast usage had "Increased" or "Significantly Increased" in the last six months, and 65% reported that they listen to podcasts for both personal and business reasons.

"This is one of the first surveys focused specifically on the B2B audience and it clearly shows that podcasts, blogs and other new media types are viable mediums for reaching B2B technology buyers," Matt Lohman of KnowledgeStorm.

The respondents were actually enthusiastic about podcasting — and wanted more. Nearly 60% said business and tech information in white papers or analyst reports would be more interesting as podcasts, and 55% said they would be more likely to use the information if it were delivered in podcasts, rather than as reading material.

"Podcasts are no longer being used only for pure entertainment value," said Stacy Malone of Universal McCann. "They are turning into an indispensable, business-critical information tool."

Apparently podcasting is no longer just for kids.


Blogging is bringing new voices to the online world

Most bloggers focus on personal experiences, not politics

Washington, DC (July 19, 2006) - The ease and appeal of blogging is inspiring a new group of writers and creators to share their voices with the world.

A new, national phone survey of bloggers finds that most are focused on describing their personal experiences to a relatively small audience of readers and that only a small proportion focus their coverage on politics, media, government, or technology.

Related surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the blog population has grown to about 12 million American adults, or about 8% of adult internet users and that the number of blog readers has jumped to 57 million American adults, or 39% of the online population.

These are some of the key findings in a new report issued by the Pew Internet Project titled "Bloggers":

* 54% of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44% say they have published elsewhere.

* 54% of bloggers are under the age of 30.

* Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46% of bloggers and men 54%.

* 76% of bloggers say a reason they blog is to document their personal experiences and share them with others.

* 64% of bloggers say a reason they blog is to share practical knowledge or skills with others.

* When asked to choose one main subject, 37% of bloggers say that the primary topic of their blog is "my life and experiences."

* Other topics ran distantly behind: 11% of bloggers focus on politics and government; 7% focus on entertainment; 6% focus on sports; 5% focus on general news and current events; 5% focus on business; 4% on technology; 2% on religion, spirituality or faith; and additional smaller groups who focus on a specific hobby, a health problem or illness, or other topics.

The report, written by Senior Research Specialist Amanda Lenhart and Associate Director Susannah Fox, says that bloggers are avid consumers and creators of online content. They are also heavy users of the internet in general. Forty-four percent of bloggers have taken material they find online - like songs, text, or images - and remixed it into their own artistic creation. By comparison, just 18% of all internet users have done this. A whopping 77% of bloggers have shared something online that they created themselves, like their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos. By comparison, 26% of internet users have done this.

"Blogs are as individual as the people who keep them, but this survey shows that most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression," said Lenhart. "Blogs make it easy to document individual experiences, share practical knowledge, or just keep in touch with friends and family."

The Pew Internet & American Life Project deployed two strategies to interview bloggers. First, bloggers were identified in random-digit dial surveys about internet use. These respondents were called back for an in-depth survey between July 2005 and February 2006, for a final yield of 233 bloggers. Second, additional random-digit surveys were fielded between November 2005 and April 2006 to capture an up-to-date estimate of the percentage of internet users who are currently blogging. These large-scale telephone surveys yielded a sample of 7,012 adults, which included 4,753 internet users, 8% of whom are bloggers.

"Much of the public and press attention to bloggers has focused on the small number of high-traffic, A-list bloggers," said Fox. "By asking a wide range of bloggers what they do and why they do it, we have found a different kind of story about the power of the internet to encourage creativity and community among all kinds of internet users."

Some additional data points from the Bloggers report:

* 87% of bloggers allow comments on their blog.

* 72% of bloggers post photos to their blog.

* 55% of bloggers blog under a pseudonym.

* 41% of bloggers say they have a blogroll or friends list on their blog.

* 8% of bloggers earn money on their blog.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has created an online version of the Blogger Callback telephone survey and invites participation from the general public. The resulting answers will not be a representative sample, but the online survey will give observers a chance to see the questions in context and to comment on some specific aspects of blogging. The survey is online at the following address:

About the Pew Internet & American Life Project: The Pew Internet Project produces reports that explore the social impact of the internet. Support for the non-profit Pew Internet Project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center. The Project's Web site:


Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Study Indicates Needlestick Injuries Continue to Cause Significant Concern for Healthcare Workers

Note to readers: This survey was conducted by Arketi Group for Inviro Medical

New Study Indicates Needlestick Injuries Continue to Cause Significant Concern for Healthcare Workers; Current Safety Syringe Designs Leave Room for Improvement

ATLANTA -- Inviro Medical announces the findings of the 2006 Study of Needlestick Injuries and Safety Devices, an independent nationwide study of directors of infection control (DICs) and nurses. The findings reveal needlestick injuries (NSIs) affect the vast majority of nurses, and nearly half (47 percent) said they had been stuck by a contaminated needle. In addition, an overwhelming majority of DICs and nurses believe current safety syringe designs need improving.

The national study was comprised of two survey instruments. The first included responses from 147 DICs, and the second survey consisted of responses from 188 nurses. Results of the study can be downloaded at:

Nearly half of all nurses stuck by contaminated needle
The study showed the majority of U.S. nurses (64 percent) had been accidentally stuck by a needle while working; nearly half (47 percent) of all nurses surveyed reported being accidentally stuck by a contaminated needle.

Room for improvement in existing safety syringe design
When asked if there was room for improvement in the design of current safety syringes, an overwhelming majority of DICs and nurses said "yes" (97 percent and 96 percent respectively). Illustrating this belief, 70 percent of DICs and 65 percent of nurses felt that safety syringes with retrofitted designs, which today account for 95 percent of the market, were not the most effective design to protect clinicians. (Retrofitted safety syringes refer to non-safety syringe designs that have been modified with an added shield, sheath or cap to meet industry safety regulations).

"This research underscores the problems that exist with retro-fitted safety syringes, which in the absence of an acceptable custom designed safety syringe, have dominated the market until now," said Gareth Clarke, CEO of Inviro Medical, sponsor of the study and manufacturer of the InviroSNAP! Safety Syringe. "Clinicians are clearly seeking an alternative safety syringe that provides better protection and is easy to use."

Widespread concern about needlestick injuries
The study found the overwhelming majority of DICs and nurses worry about accidental NSIs. In fact, 82 percent of DICs believe NSIs remain a significant hazard, and even more nurses (88 percent) cite NSIs as a serious hazard.

"The findings of this study are a 'must-read' for those in the healthcare industry," said Mike Neumeier, principal of Arketi Group, the consulting firm that completed the study. "We believe this to be the first comprehensive survey of healthcare workers on this topic, since the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act became law in 2000."

Needlestick injuries believed to be underreported
The majority of DICs and nurses believe NSIs are underreported (63 percent and 86 percent respectively). However, the two groups differ on the reasons why. Forty-five percent of DICs said the main reason is because clinicians are too busy to report them; 27 percent said the follow-up time takes too long; 11 percent believe clinicians may be afraid of workplace consequences associated with reporting NSIs. Nurses, on the other hand, are more likely than DICs to cite a concern for workplace consequences (23 percent) as the reason they believe NSIs are underreported.

Annual evaluations of safety devices
The majority of DICs (74 percent) and nurses (57 percent) report their facility conducts yearly evaluations of safety syringes, as required by the Needlestick Act. Ninety-three percent of DICs surveyed said they were able to influence the selection of sharp safety devices used in their facility, and 95 percent think their frontline nurses are able to influence selection. In stark contrast, only 43 percent of the nurses report they are able to influence selection in their facility.
Infection control spending set to increase
When asked about spending, nearly two out of three DICs (63 percent) said they plan to increase spending on infection control in 2006. Of those who project an increase:

-- 25 percent plan to increase spending by 1 to 5 percent
-- 32 percent plan to increase spending by 6 to 10 percent
-- 25 percent plan to increase spending by 11 to 24 percent
-- 18 percent plan to increase spending by 25 percent or more

Avian flu, ebola, anthrax concern healthcare workers
Illustrating the concern over U.S. preparedness for bioterrorism and pandemic-related diseases, 83 percent of DICs said the United States is either unprepared or very unprepared for avian flu. Ebola was second with 72 percent; 61 percent felt the country is unprepared or very unprepared for the plague; 58 percent said smallpox; and 48 percent think the country is unprepared for anthrax. However, the majority of those surveyed (52 percent) said methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) caused them the most worry.

About the survey
Conducted in May, the 2006 U.S. Study of Needlestick Injuries and Safety Devices is based on an online, nationwide survey of U.S. directors of infection control and nurses.

Of the 147 DIC participants:

-- 35 percent have been a director of infection control for fewer than 5 years
-- 34 percent for 5 to 10 years
-- 11 percent for 11 to 15 years
-- 22 percent for more than 15 years

Of the 188 nurses surveyed:

-- 14 percent have been a nurse for fewer than 5 years
-- 23 percent have been nurses for 5 to 10 years
-- 12 percent have been nurses for 11 to 15 years
-- 51 percent have been nurses for more than 15 years

The research was conducted by Atlanta-based Arketi Group.