Here is the full article on emarketing by Philip Weiss recently published in the CW Bulletin, the IABC‘s e-newsletter.
Back in the 1990s, marketers were under assault. Everything is changing, they were told. Digital is upon us. Discover this new world of communication or your job is on the line!
Then came the dot-com bust. Some people even seemed slightly relieved—believing that things weren’t going to change after all. And yet the Internet didn’t just keel over and die. Indeed, after 2001, its relentless growth continued unchecked, forcing marketers to take notice.
If you work in advertising, PR or any other field of traditional communication, you might not have noticed that the industry has changed radically. Most agencies are still obsessed with the “big idea”—which generally means something that will look nice in a print ad or on TV, and yes, maybe it can work online, too.
Some agencies are shifting their focus. A recent study published in the U.K. by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that in 2006, advertisers spent more money on web advertisements than on print for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the mainstream media is picking up on Web 2.0 and seemingly getting very excited about it. The cover of Time magazine announcing “you” as its Person of the Year for 2006 is a great testimony to this. We live in a collaborative world now, Time’s Lev Grossman explained, and the people making the biggest impact are you and me, sharing information online in ways that were unheard of a few decades ago.
But what does all this mean for communicators? Put simply: Embrace the changes and start learning again! Based on experiences working with global communication teams in leading companies over the past decade and confronting the same dilemmas time and time again, here are seven tips for joining the new generation of communicators.
1. “If it moves, measure it.” This is the motto of Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, and is what The Economist describes as the main reason for advertisers’ increasing shift to the Web. In the past, advertising was always more art than science, an idea captured famously in a quote from retailer John Wanamaker: “Half my advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.” On the Web, however, marketers can directly link consumers’ actions with exposure to a particular ad message or campaign.
2. Keep it simple. Don’t let IT take over a web project! Make sure you understand enough about the technology to be able to lead the project. Technology is just the instrument, and the most powerful campaigns are done with simple technology (e-mails, blogs, simple sites). Don’t get carried away; look at what really simple technology and brilliant ideas can achieve.
3. Content matters. Make sure you understand how to write or create good web content. The skills of traditional publishing are just as relevant online. A journalistic approach and wide participation in your communication activities are crucial to the success of an online communication program. Plan for this in your campaign—don’t blow your budget on a great system and online media if you don’t have the resources to sustain content throughout your campaign!
4. Without traffic, you might as well stay at home. You cannot hide from failure with a web campaign. You will know exactly how many people have taken part (by visiting your site, signing up to your promotion, etc.). You need to ensure that you have a plan to generate traffic to your site. You can start with what is now the key to a good traffic generation plan: setting up a Google Adwords campaign. Then find partners—portal sites that target the same audience—and test the relevant channels to start getting the message to your audience.
5. Embrace your customer. Traditional marketing is based on command and control; Marketing 2.0 is about getting customers to become an integral part of your marketing effort. You need to learn to trust your customers and ensure that you engage with them in a public way so that you can convert them into fans. Then they will start spreading the word for your company or your brand.
6. Break down the silos. Advertising seldom communicates with PR teams or products and sales teams, instead remaining isolated. Create a unified and integrated approach to different communication departments! The only reason companies avoid doing this is historical—no one would build a company with isolated communication departments—so be the one who starts breaking down the silos and live dangerously.
7. Added-value thinking is the killer application. In an increasingly globalized world you will not get paid much for execution. What will distinguish you is your ability to add value to any project you are involved with. Learn how you can provide continuous “added-value thinking” to those who pay your bills.
So watch out for the Internet, and for those out there who enjoy a challenge, embrace it!