bandwagon is rolling again, Internet advertising doesnt work, the
banner is dead. But hold on before you jump on board, better look before
you leap because as a great author once said, rumors of my death are greatly
not traditional direct marketers--were the first kids on the block to
line up for a ticket to ride this new medium called the Internet. At that
time, (could it only be four years ago?) Direct Marketing was not part
of their vocabulary. However, when the web did not perform for them like
traditional advertising placements, they dubbed the Internet a direct
advertising medium and headed for higher ground. Lets be honest
none of the web marketing gurus, circa 1997/98 were happy with the web
being anointed for direct response.
Bad news? Maybe not. With those who do not trust or understand the medium
on the way out, true direct marketers now have more avenues open to them
to make better deals, stretch budgets, and test new avenues to bring in
new leads and sales. Be aware that the general ad folks are not about
to surrender the revenue from the Internet.
The General Agency
types are back, now having tested the Internet, they have concluded that
it was a branding and not a direct marketing medium all along. And by
the way, their billing shouldnt be subject to those horrific tracking
reports of click throughs, because they just dont count.
Yes its true
that part of the Internet sales pitch centered on the power of the click-through.
A remarkable device that allowed interested prospects to go directly from
interest to sale. It became a tool simply unlike any other advertising
vehicle ever created. The click-through quickly rose in the ranks to become
the ultimate barometer of banner advertising success. Thats where
the problem started. Especially for the general agencies and you can throw
in the New Economy agencies as well.
None of the pundits,
and certainly none of the newbie Internet associations, ever realized
what every direct marketer knows, ROI isnt like opening a letter
(which may be similar to a click.) Its the Sale!
Or, at least the call
to action-- that is so very important--should be tested.
Maybe, the CPM was
too high, or the offer was too cheap. Remember all of the free stuff on
the web that blew budgets? None of these critical variables stops the
banner or web from being a direct medium.
The folks who are
now rethinking the web never were comfortable with working
in a measurable media. They made a bundle in general advertising. Now
they can label direct marketing almost like an outgoing administration.
For the rethinkers,
heres whats back: the tried and true building blocks of advertising
success such as image, name recognition, and branding. They were shoved
aside for what was thought of as a get rich quick goldmine. A big mistake
with little thought behind it.
Sad to say but these
ad people from both inside and outside the Internet business have come
to believe that the banners 15 minutes of fame has come and gone.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just as radio folks
waited in vain for the passing fancy of TV to fade, todays traditional
advertisers are waiting for the end of an advertising medium Im
sure that is simply not in sight.
The truth is that
online advertising -- even banners -- do work. However a shift to responsible
testing of variables must occur. Price, Offer, Creative and Targeted Placement
must become more than the cheapest buy on a network of sites.
Some of the most successful
networks of sites on the web have actually hurt the direct marketing success
of the web. None of the fundamental concerns of a direct marketing offer
are considered when buying through these networks. (Networks, while they
have their place in a media buy, are a secondary one.)
As knowledge grows,
so too will an appreciation of what the Internet as an advertising medium
does well. As more advertisers and direct marketers understand and utilize
the concept of these newer creative formats, the dollars will begin to
flow back and the Internet will find its place in media budgets.