Axis Launches A BlogBy: John Honovich, Published on Dec 22, 2016
Is it 2007 or 2017?
Because Axis Communications has just launched a blog.
Are they 10 years too late or just right?
In this post, we examine Axis' entry to blogging, how it can be a strong marketing move for them, how it fits into a changing environment for security marketing / media and the key risk it exposes.
Axis blog is called 'Secure Insights'.
It is just getting started and so far it has a handful of posts from 6 different Axis employees, including a story from Martin Gren about working with Steve Wozniak and Axis CTO talking about 2017 top technology trends.
A Wordpress blog, it supports comments via social media logins.
Changing Marketing Landscape
Manufacturers historically have depended on print for marketing / communication. Of course, that is changing for all markets.
For large manufacturers like Axis, it is actually highly beneficial because like politicians, manufacturers can take their message direct to the people / buyers.
In our industry, manufacturers like Axis have far greater reach over the Internet than any of the trade magazines. Trade magazines optimistically report ~30,000 print subscribers and similar email lists with most under 100,000 website page views per months.
By contrast, Axis Internet presence is huge. Axis has ~45,000 followers on LinkedIn, ~20,000 followers on Twitter. We would guess they have millions of page views to their website monthly and easily 100,000+ email subscribers to their various lists. And this should not be a surprise. A company that spends nearly $200 million annually on sales and marketing is going to build up a large direct reach.
Historically, Axis has 'blogged' on trade magazine website and for the privilege are expected and have been paid sizably for advertising, event sponsorship, etc. for those publications.
Marketing Benefits For Axis
Not only can Axis cut out the middleman but they acquire far more flexibility in when and what they publish.
Axis can use their social media presence, their email lists and the sheer number of people who come to Axis website to get their message out. If they use those 3 resources, they will undoubtedly get far more views and engagement than depending on a hodgepodge of small trade magazines.
Departure For Axis
One interesting element of this is that historically Axis allowed very very few people to speak publicly on their behalf. Those in the industry for some time will recall a period when Axis' Fredrik Nilsson would ghostwrite seemingly half the articles in trade magazines. Even to this day, of Axis 2,000+ employees, only a handful ever publish on Axis behalf.
There is some rationale for this. Keeping the message on target and avoiding PR disasters is harder the more people who are talking, especially with Axis public tactic of 'What? No Race To The Bottom. Everything is Super!"
Risk - Comments
One impressive choice by Axis is including comments. There are few manufacturer blogs and even fewer that allow comments (Here's looking at you Milestone 'Post').
However, as IPVM can attest, comments are one of the best and riskiest features of modern communication.
Axis is moderating comments (which if their blog has any success will be a painful administrative task and user annoyance) but to their credit quickly allowed my comment on their CTO's 2017 technology outlook:
Comments are great for getting critical feedback and learning from different, and often opposing, points of views. It forces people to research things more rigorously and to express themselves more accurately. Not only does the 'threat' of comments make IPVM better, we certainly learn a lot from comments that help us improve what we do and where we go. The same can be had for any company.
But comments can be brutal to marketing agendas, especially when companies are out of touch. These can be hard truths, emotionally disruptive to the company that receives them, placing them in difficult positions to either answer the commenter or appear that that they are wrong or misleading. Marketing people are not used to dealing with that publicly and certainly not on their own sites.
The track record of video surveillance manufacturer's blogging is pathetic and that is not an exaggeration. Very few even try and almost all quit with the first year. The best security manufacturer blog is on door hardware and there is nothing close.
Even if all Axis does is centralize its own marketing pieces into its own site, promoting it on its own marketing channels, it is still likely to be a good move for them, compared to being dependent on declining print trade magazines.
But if Axis can genuinely open up and engage with the community, it could be a powerful force for them.
For us, we welcome manufacturer blogs. The more open manufacturers can be, the more interesting the industry discussion can be and the better it is for IPVM and the broader community of people who want to learn.