Friday, June 5

Missing Net Intent: Marketers See Myopically

If Brian Morrissey, writing for Adweek, is right, then online communication has a long way to go before it can right the wrongs of its own success. He correctly points out that the Internet is "blessed because it differentiated itself as more measurable than traditional media — and cursed because it has pigeonholed the medium as an engine of direct-response."

The observation comes from a new survey conducted by Forbes. The survey polled 119 senior marketers and was conducted in February and March. The numbers reveal a surprisingly myopic view of the Internet as a tool to generate direct response as opposed to a critical branding component that could eventually help establish customer loyalty.

• 82 percent identified conversations as a leading objective
• 55 percent identified registrations as a leading objective
• 51 percent identified click throughs as a leading objective
• 31 percent identified brand building as a leading objective
• 11 percent identified increasing reach as a leading objective

"On the Web specifically, advertising has moved into more demand fulfillment as opposed to demand creation. That's not really advertising. There's nothing wrong with it." Jim Spanfeller, CEO of Forbes, told Adweek. "Doing search marketing and point-of purchase displays all works, but it's not advertising. It's not about creating demand and improving brand metrics."

Why Most Top Marketers Still Misunderstand The Internet

The Internet is not as myopic as most marketers would have anyone believe. It's multifaceted, with measurement best tied to communication objectives over the medium.

Clicks, registrations, and conversations are certainly a measurable component on the Internet, but utilizing the medium as a direct response vehicle is paramount to creating a self-fulfilling myth. If you use it as a direct response vehicle, then it's likely to be nothing more than a direct response vehicle, with a diminished return on investment over the long term.

The reality is that the Internet can be all of those things listed in the Forbes survey because the Internet is less of a medium than it is a convergence of media — print, radio, television, direct, display, networking, presentation, public relations, communication, word-of-mouth, etc. And the success of any program is directly related to how you develop that program.

Indeed, its versatility as a communication tool is as varied as any communication vehicle offline, which is why so many people struggle to place it within the various communication disciplines that exist — marketing, advertising, public relations, direct response, etc. All the while, it doesn't really "belong" to any of these disciplines because the medium, or collection of media, is clearly integrated.

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