ClickZ Forum members waved 'bye to Martin Lindstrom, the web branding expert who'd been fielding questions from members.
Martin responded to Kira Greene's question about what makes web brands successful. The winners, he said, offer good navigation, an appropriate "tone of voice" and consistent messages. And they were all "born or supported via offline media and later on supported online."
Martin believes that offline media reflect trust. His research indicates that people don't trust brands that have only appeared online.
Playing off a post by Tim Lee about global brands, Heiko Hebig contended that there's no such thing. "Some brands (have) managed to create a global awareness," he wrote, "but how the brands are perceived is very different from country to country or culture to culture." As he sees it, there's a new breed of "digitally connected consumers" who may share common needs across cultural boundaries. Future market segmentation may be based upon "degree of connectivity."
AltaVista Drops Charges
Catherine Seda was one who voiced regret at AltaVista's decision to abandon its experiment with charging for search terms, but she's not about to lose sleep over it.
"Most companies may not be seeing great results from their online advertising efforts, because many marketing folks are applying the print broadcast model to this one-to-one medium," she wrote.
"'Just say no' to run-of-site campaigns! Quit whining about the dip in banner ad click-throughs and analyze your cost per lead and cost per sale There are opt-in marketing programs so companies can buy actual leads, ready profit-sharing partnerships to be formed, and allow clicks to still be purchased on GoTo. It's too bad that AV is gone for now, but we are confident that portals/companies will continue to create new ways of reaching our clients' intended audiences."
I-Advertising - Community
On I-Advertising, George Perry has surveyed the Internet landscape and isn't amused. He longs for something better.
"So much of what we see on the Internet is blatant advertising, promotion, promising, wheedling and extortion. It bears a striking resemblance to the Las Vegas Strip. Soulless, greedy and driven," Perry wrote.
"We have the opportunity to create on the Net and reinforce issues that are missing in society today: community and communication. This may well be a novel concept for I-Advertisers, but it is critical to our success.
"The Internet is a place to quietly build community, to communicate one-to-one, to whisper, not shout If you are standing on the outside looking in, and you're wondering how to establish a presence you may well be tempted to follow suit, jumping in and copying the seemingly successful sites but this is short-term slash-and-burn thinking.
"(But) To be serious in business you have to plan long term You have to think about it from the customer's viewpoint. You have to build community. One person at a timeThe key to this is building credibility and (here's that word again) trust. It is so tempting, given the numbers involved, to join the majority of sites on the Net that rape and pillage and move on. But this is bad karma. A far better approach is to slowly build a community. One person at a time."
Email marketing was the topic that seemed to generate the most interest on I-Advertising. "The impact email has on e-commerce is truly impressive," wrote Chuck Condon. "Not only can email be used to directly drive sales, but it also functions as an extension of site content. A well-constructed email marketing program greatly increases a site's 'stickiness' and aids in increasing customer loyalty."
Robert Mendez shared his success with opt-in email; success he attributed to three factors: "First, we analyze the entire universe of available lists, subscribers, and the criteria used to aggregate each list. Second, we plan a long-term project with intuitive logical steps to provide the audience with valuable, interesting content. Third, we facilitate a comprehensive tracking system that delivers precise results."
Robert's audience hasn't responded well to rich media. "They seem to want information that is quickly sorted, using as little sales jargon as possible, and as little bandwidth as possible, both figuratively and literally."
"It is assumed by many doing direct mail that 'more is better'," wrote George O'Hanlon. "Bbut the old adage 'less is more' is true for direct marketing. The fewer, yet more highly qualified names on a list the better the list performs."
But will the industry kill the goose that laid the golden egg? "One piece of email is unobtrusive," wrote Martin Lloyd, "If I end up getting two or three mails a day, I will stop reading them and eventually stop giving permission because I already get too much mail. Then I'll start unsubscribing How long have we got before this sort of email fatigue kicks in?"
Online Ads - Future Shock
To Ruud Sjoerdsma's question on Online Ads about the most important online and offline advertising trends in the next five years, Kim Brooks replied "advertising the way it is now will just plain die consumers are bored to tears by throat-cramming, money-burning, jingle-singing 30-second or 468x80 crap.
"Personally, I will dance on the grave of 30-second spots and irritating banners. And I think lots of others in the 20 to 35-year-old bracket feel the same way.
"We just had a whole thread about banner-blocking software and the 'danger' it poses to advertising supported sites. Hullo?? Doncha know that most of your visitors are mentally blocking those banners anyway? That's why click-through rates are so pathetic everywhere.
"I'm looking forward to the day that advertisers think up some way to get around people's blocks by being either interesting, honest, straight forward, and entertaining."
Bits And Pieces
Online Ads also had a few posts about how to appraise a web site. With great difficulty, members concluded. Tim Lee got some objections to his contention that one-on-one marketing doesn't work. Members also discussed globalizing brands and how to make email marketing programs more effective.
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John Day is a contributing writer to ClickZ. He is also a freelancer who writes regularly for Electronic Engineering Times, Electronic Buyers News, and Design News. He covers integrated circuits for the Product Week section of EE Times and writes feature articles on assignment. He also writes feature articles for EBN. His assignments for Design News include southeast regional coverage and coordination of editorial for the magazine's Target Market Supplements. He began his technology career as Boston Correspondent for Electronic News and, before returning to journalism, worked in technology public relations.