2006 Advertising: Internet's Up

Ian Lurie

Business Week Article
Standard & Poor’s is predicting a terrible 2006 for every advertising medium except one: The Internet. It’s not hard to figure out why: With the focus on leaner/meaner/faster everything, the Internet is the logical marketing medium. It’s the only one where organizations can measure their audience, place an ad, and then measure exactly how well that ad is performing.

The only companies that aren’t jumping on the Internet bandwagon? Really big, really slow-moving brands. Seth Godin said it best in his interview with E-consultancy:

1. Does it perplex you that many big brands still have reservations about the web?

Not at all. Big brands got that way by doing the things that worked over and over. They’re not good at the new, and they’re horrible at experimenting.

2. Should every business use the internet to communicate? What are the basics of an internet communications strategy?

You should only use the internet if you want your communications to be FAST and you want to reach LARGE NUMBERS with no intermediaries. If you can’t handle that, though, you shouldn’t try.

To reinforce that, have a look at rising search numbers: In October 2005, there were 5.1 BILLION queries on major search engines. That’s 15% more than June 2005. 5.1 billion is pretty staggering, no matter what. But search numbers will probably cross 10 billion per month by the end of 2006. That’s a lot of potential customers.

Why is the Internet outperforming other media? First, there’s very little intrusive advertising. Banner ads are easily ignored, and pop-up ads can be blocked. So folks can get their information quickly, without interference. Second, an effective web campaign creates a sense of one-to-one communication between customer and vendor. And finally, the information is there when you need it.

If you’re not marketing effectively online yet, make yourself a few early resolutions:

In 2006 you will make sure your web site makes sense to your audience.
In 2006 you will answer all customer e-mails within 24 hours.
In 2006 you will make sure your site presents a good profile to search engines.

Follow those principles and you’ll be in position to make the most of the Internet’s rising presence as a marketing medium.

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