Traditional marketing methods have been attacked as being in Ã¢â‚¬Å“a dreadful stateÃ¢â‚¬Â by Virgin Games Marketing Director, Ross Sleight. Speaking at LondonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mermaid Theatre, Ross bemoaned the poor return gained by increased marketing spend, and how traditional methods are now failing to penetrate their audience.
Ross attributed this to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“closed loop systems in terms of blogging and social networksÃ¢â‚¬Â with conversations taking place that were blocking the mass marketing messages getting through. He went on to recognise that it was becoming increasingly important for brands to find new ways of reaching their consumers. They ignored the explosion in online social networking, and the change in attitudes towards advertising, at their peril.
Generations have now grown up living under the bombardment of so much advertising and marketing messages that traditional methods are no longer getting through. It appears people can now block out the frequency at which advertising is pitched. Marketers are now having to adapt to both the online world, which is sucking audiences away from the box and glossy magazines, as well as to the new attitude they are encountering, which is none too appreciative of being blatantly sold to. TV and magazines have served as such excellent sales vehicles for so long that it is only with great reluctance that marketers are starting to reassess their approach.
A one way assault of the senses has sufficed in selling to mass audiences for so long that marketers seem to have forgotten what good sales technique is all about. People want transparency, honesty and trust in how they are sold to. Telling stories, relationship building and developing confidence over time are proven techniques that can achieve these aims. Marketing doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t so much have to evolve as go back to its roots, to go back to basics.
Its no longer a prerequisite for a professional website to open with fanfares and flash graphics exploding in peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s faces. What it still has to do is to develop a relationship with its audience so they want an association with your product or service. Web design has gone beyond pure aesthetics and a bit of hard hitting copywriting on the homepage. Your website is now becoming an organic, evolving reflection of your brand and businesses personality.
As more and more people flock to the Internet, for buying products and services, your website becomes a more potent weapon in your marketing arsenal. Not only does it have to project your brand and business, but also has to create an association with its audience. Marketers need to start thinking about digging out their old copywriting handbooks to think of ways of using their content to build relationships with their consumers.
Your website should be used for fashioning compelling stories that develop trust and confidence, and to convince your readers that you can help improve their lives. You want to create an ongoing story that will capture peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention and develop the sales process over time through subtle persuasion.
With Internet Explorer 7 imminently about to spread onto peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s browsers, and the penetration of RSS into the mass market, you need to start realising that your content is becoming the most important element of your website. Utilising RSS means your news and information can be distributed all over the web, and hook readers from a number of different sources before reeling them in back to your main website.
You also need to start thinking of your website as a beeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hive with your content acting as an army of worker bees, flying all over the web to collect readers and bring them back to consume more of your websiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s honey. Your content is what will attract readers, keep them subscribed to your news and information and then transform them into customers.
Ross SleightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments, that traditional marketingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s influence is waning, carry even more poignancy when you consider that UK Internet marketing spend, as announced yesterday, has increased by 24%. This was part of the first overall increase in marketing expenditure in the UK for 18 months. The lionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s share of this has been in Internet marketing and direct marketing. Traditional marketing has continued to see its funding fall as its audience and impact continues to dwindle. Many marketers must be scratching their heads at how to penetrate mass audiences like they used to.
I would expect that the majority of the increased online marketing spend relates to pay-per-click campaigns, rather than ongoing website development. Marketing still seems to revolve around getting as many eyeballs as possible onto your online presence first and then thinking about what you feed those eyeballs once they have arrived.
The increase of 24% in Internet marketing spend also has to be put into context. Although 11.5% of businesses allocate a significant budget online, 49 % still allocate 1% or less on the web. There can be little doubt, however, that we will be witnessing a dramatic rise in this percentage over the years to come.