Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Advertising and the Internet: Time to Rethink the Relationship?

As a follow-up to our two recent posts on the obsession with ROI and the way information moves on the Internet, a new Advertising Age column dovetails nicely: Matthew Creamer’s “Think Different: Maybe the Web's Not a Place to Stick Your Ads” (subscription needed).

For marketers and agencies, says Creamer, big changes are happening in the way we do business—or at least they should be happening. He quotes Trevor Kaufman, CEO of Schematic, the interactive agency recently purchased by WPP Group:

"It's easy for clients and agencies to think about banners and email because buying banners is like buying outdoor and email is like direct. That is very different than nurturing the community of your customers, providing great content or executing transactions."

Lessons to mull over:

  • We can’t simply jump into the digital game with a traditional-media approach that isn’t suited for the social dynamics of the digital environment. Banners can work well on niche websites, but don’t overlook the countless other opportunities to connect with customers in new ways.
  • We shouldn’t obsess over tactical metrics like click-through rates that track how many people we’re reaching instead of how well we’re getting through to them.

The biggest lesson, however, is that we have many lessons to learn. The digital media landscape is rapidly maturing, and there’s a real need for serious reflection on what we’re doing there.

Meanwhile, many marketers and advertisers haven’t even gotten past the “brochureware” stage of Internet content—literature conceived for print, converted to digital. So it seems that we’ve got a lot of thinking to do …

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