Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Top Digital Marketing Tactics for 2009

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Reader Polls

digital marketing tactics 2009

We’ve run several Reader Polls on favored internet marketing tactics over the past year and a half flavored by a sentiment towards recession and also as a general indication of future plans. The state of the world and certainly the marketing world is as unique and challenging as it’s ever been. Many companies and vendors are scrambling to figure out how to make most efficient/effective use of resources to grow their businesses in this uncertain economy.

Traditional marketing budgets are increasingly shifting to digital marketing and why not? Internet marketing is often more cost effective, builds awareness quickly, fosters relationships and is measurable in ways traditional advertising just can’t match. Within the world of digital, there are many, many options and considerations. Situations, circumstances and objectives vary, but the commonality of digital delivery, interaction and measurement brings this poll together. We’d love your participation and insight:

What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?

  • Blogging (12%, 183 Votes)
  • Microblogging (Twitter) (10%, 155 Votes)
  • Search engine optimization (10%, 151 Votes)
  • Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (9%, 137 Votes)
  • Email marketing (6%, 90 Votes)
  • Social media monitoring & outreach (6%, 88 Votes)
  • Pay per click (5%, 73 Votes)
  • Blogger relations (4%, 64 Votes)
  • Video marketing (3%, 51 Votes)
  • Social media advertising (3%, 39 Votes)
  • Online/digital public relations (2%, 38 Votes)
  • Affiliate marketing (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Corporate web site (2%, 36 Votes)
  • Viral marketing (2%, 34 Votes)
  • Free content (eBooks, white papers) (2%, 33 Votes)
  • Online communities/forums (2%, 33 Votes)
  • Branded microsites (2%, 30 Votes)
  • User generated content (2%, 26 Votes)
  • Widgets (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Link bait content (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Webinars (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Podcasts (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Article marketing (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Behavioral targeting/re-targeting (1%, 18 Votes)
  • IM/Mobile SMS (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Social news / Bookmarking (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Online contests, giveaways (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Online display ads (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Contextual advertising (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Sponsorships / Cross branding (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Rich media apps/demos (Flash) (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Mobile ads (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Freemium services/tools (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Blog advertising (1%, 8 Votes)
  • eCommerce feeds & Comparison shopping (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Advertorial (AdFusion) (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Teleconferences (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Advergames (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Buy web sites and retool (0%, 4 Votes)
  • RSS advertising (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Virtual worlds (Second Life) (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Virtual tradeshows (0%, 2 Votes)
  • No holds barred spam (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Rich media avatars (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Paid reviews (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 532

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Please share your insights in the comments and if we’ve left out significant digital marketing tactics, we’d welcome suggestions.

The most responses we’ve had to a poll was approximately 400, so please share, tweet, submit and vote as is deserved. We’ll share the results of the poll in a post next week.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (6 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. I think that providing an API will become an increasingly relevant way of marketing. It’s a great way of getting talented developers and thinkers to imagine new ways of promoting your products.

    APIs have worked well for Amazon and iTunes, I expect lots of other e-commerce outfits to follow suit.

    • Andy, that’s an excellent idea – thank you. I guess that fits under a “facilitation the mashup” sort of category. Noted and will be included in our next poll.

  2. Lee – neat idea. It will be interesting to see what the top 3 results turn out to be. I’m surprised to see blogs and Twitter at the top of the poll, considering the feedback we get from clients and other business folk who are still trying to wrap their arms around these two channels. Maybe this is a sign that more and more people are beginning to embrace these things a bit more, opposed to writing them off as irrelevant.

    • I agree Jason, but it’s also a reflection of the preferences that people have who follow our blog or me on Twitter. I’m hoping we can get the poll participation number over 500 so it’s a better sample. Any help to promote this poll is GREATLY appreciated!

  3. Lee – that makes perfect sense. I’ll definitely put it out to my contacts as well. I think they’d love to weigh in. Thanks for the feedback.

    BTW – I just started following you on Twitter a few weeks ago. I’ve read your blog here and there for a while now, but guilty of not commenting. Usually doing too many things at once :-). Good stuff.

  4. What about live streaming video? Can that be included?

  5. Great article! I just came across this site via Google and must say you really know your stuff. Keep up the good work! Ill keep coming back.

  6. Avatar Marianne Snygg says

    So, after voting and seeing the results of others, I’m glad to see that I’m up there at the top with the rest…but, is it good to be where everyone else is? Does it seperate you from the crowd? Or put you where the greater majority of people will find you?

    • Marianne, that’s a great question that one of my co-workers asked me yesterday.

      Digital Marketing tactics should match the needs of the situation, company resources, the target market and end consumer preferences. A tactical mix could be anything from the list above and still be successful as long as they support a valid strategy.

  7. Our business is about personal services that require good chemistry between the provider and the client: counseling, hypnotherapy, and life coaching. Blogging is a great way to let our clients get a feel for who we are and how we work. Everything else (Twitter, Facebook, SEO) is a way to connect with people and steer them to the website and the blog. The website and blog also let people who aren’t intersted in our services now get to know us and hopefully recommend us or remember us if they need us later.

  8. Really neat survey. How long will you keep it up before doing any update on results?

    In addition to a great list of simply available SM tactics, it’ll be neat to see where everyone’s focus is. I posted a link to the survey at the Social Media Breakfast Toledo network at http://smbtoledo.ning.com/, as well as RT’d from @serena.

    What would be also good to see is to somehow get a list of strategies that would be behind these tactics. In other words, here is a list of some things I want to accomplish, what are some tactics I could us?

    • Thanks Mike. The results update dynamically, each time someone takes the poll and clicks submit. I’ll keep it up until Thursday am and post final results and insights then.

      Your link is very much appreciated.

      Great minds think alike, because it is exactly my intention to explore each of these tactics over the coming months. 🙂

  9. Lee

    Great survey! Answered it and can’t wait to see the full results.


  10. Excellent! we’re now over 300 responses. Thank you to everyone who has taken the poll and helped promote it.

    Sally Falkow has some good insights about the preliminary responses on Bulldog Reporter’s Leading Edge Blog.

    Valeria Maltoni has posted her 3 picks and indepth insights on her Conversation Agent blog.

  11. Wah, you didn’t list what I’m doing!

    I’m community-building. From that, everything else will flow.

    Data points, Barbara

    • That’s a good point Barbara, community building could be it’s own line item tactic. We do have social media monitoring and outreach listed, which is a large part of community building. We’ll add it in the next poll.

  12. I think affiliate marketing is a little ambiguous here – it could be seen as a strategy by both the advertiser and the merchant.

    Also, I use about a third or more of the tactics on the list in my affiliate marketing efforts.

  13. Great polls and great idea

  14. Avatar Bob Boucher says

    I can only choose three?!?! I look at your list and feel like a kid in a candy shop. I want them all!
    Our agency is heavily pushing online video for clients whose products lend themselves to demos and customer feedback. The question is, I’ve read that the quality of online video will be improving soon, but haven’t heard how or when. Any insights?

  15. I’m with Bob; 3 was not enough! My goal is for an online ‘local’ community to help businesses not only grow online but foster each other’s pursuits, pulling in local schools, nonprofits, etc. Like a co-op; does that make sense? Local search has so far to go.

  16. I was tempted to click “no-holds barred spam”, thinking nobody else would…but it seems somebody has. Is that kind of honesty what’s called hnor among thieves? Or was someone else feeling frisky?

  17. This is a nice interactive topic. It was interesting to read through the endless array of options and also to be able to vote on my own opinions regarding the given choices. This is exactly the kind of interactive content that will help boost companies in this economic downfall and help keep them from sinking in such a low time.

  18. Great Survey ! I just placed my vote. The results will be interesting. Lee, I fully understand that blogging and other social media channels build relationships and awareness but my clients are looking for results. Besides tracking reports, what are some other measurable ways to prove to my clients that Internet Marketing works ?

    • Hey Janel, proving that any kind of marketing works is based on reaching some kind of goal.

      Define exactly what “results” means and then create an internet marketing strategy that plans out how to reach those goals. Implement tactics and measure for success. Traffic, inquiries and conversions are success to many companies. Measure those and refine.

  19. Hey – you’ve passed 450 – excellent post Lee!
    Sometime later I’d love to see another one on expected audience demographics for some of the top strategic elements from this post.
    Keep up the – as always – excellent work!

  20. Great online poll. Thanks for putting this together…The hardest thing for me was ONLY selecting three. All of these initiatives will play a large role in our marketing communications lives in 2009 and beyond.

  21. SEO
    Microblogging – aka Twitter (for now)

  22. While blogging is an important factor, i know that we wont be neglecting the other areas as well.

  23. Avatar Stephanie Valentine says

    Hi Lee,
    Great post and great poll. Wow, it’s refreshing to see that blogging and micro-blogging top the list as that’s what I’m focusing on. And good the see that all-out spam is at the bottom, thank goodness. It will be interesting to see what happens as time goes on because I hear from clients and biz partners that people are having a hard time staying on top of blogging and micro-blogging. It takes a lot of time that people don’t have and so they fall behind, which makes for a not-so-great blog/micro-blog. Any ideas on how people can stay on top of it? Blogging and micro-blogging are kind of like the new email — a new sea of data in which to drown!