When is it time to take the jump and move beyond "digitized" offline marketing?
There's a theory that conflict or strife is needed to implement change. This is especially true for commerce and marketing.
Prices for petro-based products are going to remain high for the foreseeable future. Within all this strife, the reptilian brain of any marketer, let alone human, is triggered to the flight-or-fight response. Though it may seem to be an academic principle, it reflects a lot of the ways that a client and agency model can fluctuate in either end of the spectrum.
Speaking as a human, too much car travel is a bad thing with gas prices. Yet that limitation comes with a desire to travel further to more memorable experiences. Though it's a personal point, it speaks to the need of most humans who desire points of richness among long expanses of the mundane.
As a marketer again, this isn't very different from the environment our clients live in. When operating costs go up, you reduce risk taking. When profits go up, you take risks. Seems quite elementary.
As we see the Internet coming of age, dollars aren't just shifting. The interest and seriousness of effort is also increasing. I'll jump ahead here and say that online brings many tools: e-mail, site-based applications, rich advertising, video and many more.
Most e-commerce-based marketers are looking to the less rich areas of online to incrementally increase performance and ROI (define). For many, this is where they'll stop until their customers migrate somewhere else to shop.
So is that it? Has the online retailers marketing life reached a plateau of refinement cycles? For many, that could be the case. For the rest, it's important to build a relationship with change, despite the economic climate.
We must not fear that digitized offline marketing is a downward spiral. It's just another successful method in converting human behavior to screen-based marketing and experiences. In many ways, the idea of risk taking for marketers isn't applicable.
Online is still the place to play, test, and learn. And, many brands are looking to juice up their online efforts this year.
Despite the hollow promise of cheap and fast success with viral video campaigns, online can produce results that deepen a customer's relationship with a brand and ultimately lead to a purchase or some form of loyalty. We're only seeing the beginning of loyalty, or at least a new form of loyalty. Mass loyalty, social networking, mob marketing -- no matter what you call it, the advocacy of products will move from the marketer to the purchaser in some form.
Marketers will need to think in terms of building experiences for their customers -- experiences that excite and stimulate a pre-existing advocacy for a product or brand and bring culture to a brand.
Video is doing this now. Interactive video will do it in the future. And, combined with the mobile-immediacy technologies coming soon, we'll be closer to seeing a movement into the next marketing realm. Users will adopt at different levels of the interactive realm, but it will never stay where it is. It will probably change every nine to 12 months.
If you're considering adding a video to a Web page on your site, think carefully about the strategy, essence, and engagement level that medium will bring. If you don't, you may be playing an eternal game of catch up. Then test and optimize your rich tests like there's no tomorrow. Well, maybe more like there is a tomorrow. And you need to be ready for it.
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Dorian Sweet is the vice president and executive creative director of GSI Interactive who leads strategic development and innovation in online advertising, Web development, e-commerce, and customer relationship management programs. His work has brought award-winning online solutions to such clients as Clorox, Miller Brewing Company, GE, Visa, eBay, British Airways, Wells Fargo, Discovery Networks, Motorola, Kodak, Sears, 20th Century Fox, and others.
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