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How the web will change marketing

March 16, 2009

Admit it. When websites first came into the marketing toolbox, marketers didn’t really embrace them as really good tools for marketing.

None of the places I worked at gave the website the least thought.We didn’t have a goal, or a target market. Fact is, many people, especially marketing people, drank the world-wide-webiness kool-aid.

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In the good old days of marketing, a target market also included geography. Not literally, but certainly implicitly. But then along came the web. And people wondered, why have a target market when your target market is anyone online?

It made decent sense at a time when all one had to do was have a website and people came to it. And as more people got online, they went to more websites. Plus, these were the day before analytics, a simple little hit counter was enough to show off how wildly successful sites were.

(Part of me wishes the first thing that was created was analytics so people could see bounce rates, easily the most humbling stat to marketers)

So here we are, a little over a decade into this whole world wide web thing. Yes, it’s been there for longer, but there really wasn’t much to do until around 1999, and the crash kept it under the radar for a little while.

But now the web is at the forefront. And more than just in a “Check our website for more information kind of way.” Brands are actually interested in thinking about their websites. Not only do clients want to get into web 2.0, they want their online presence to match their marketing. No longer are clients looking for websites, they want ideas. Promotions. Sustained campaigns that attempt to change behavior.

Whereas clients used to have a PR agency, an advertising agency, an interactive agency, a promotions agency, and a direct marketing agency, the reality is, they’re all interconnected. The client that leaves them siloed risks missing out on those connections.

Press Releases can be easily turned into social media releases. Ads that tell people about a website can be measured through bounce rates (if the bounce rate is high, it might be because the ad says something about the website that the website doesn’t offer.) Promotions can, and are happening entirely thorough microsites.

The simple reality of advertising these days is this: solutions aren’t limited to one of advertising’s silos. Motrin found that out when they released an ad online, and then went home. Had the same agency that released the ad been responsible for the PR, they might have been paying attention.

So. Perhaps the web will destroy these silos. Perhaps if a client comes into the agency looking for a solution using a particular tactic, then they’ll get a solution that uses a different tactic. Because even if the client thinks they want a print ad, the solution might be a PR campaign.

Agencies need to be open to the possibilities of all silos. In order to do that, they need to break them down. And one way is to think web first, and work from there.

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One Comment leave one →
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