The needs of traditional advertisers are driving the evolution of online advertising. That’s a good thing. Blue-chip marketers’ experience makes the industry smarter and more focused on delivering quantifiable results against specific objectives.
Above all, traditional advertisers’ influence creates (in some cases, reinforces) a very important shift in the attitudes of publishers and agencies. Instead of positioning the Web as an alternative to offline media spending, the Web is being sold as a valuable and effective complement to broadcast and print advertising.
Finally, the industry is making some sense. Instead of griping over the fact enormous budgets are spent on TV and trying to siphon some of those dollars into the Web, the most successful agencies and publishers are now trying help advertisers understand how they can extend their reach and effectiveness by using the Web as part of an integrated campaign.
Understanding how the Web fits into cross-media campaigns isn’t only an industry priority — it’s important for brand managers who want to reach their customers online. Here’s why:
- Validation. There are still plenty of Internet skeptics inside most large companies. For traditional marketers, spending money on the Web is still viewed as going out on a limb. That’s why it’s important to have data showing money was well spent compared to other budget alternatives.
- Synergy. Is reaching target consumers with the same message across different media a force multiplier? If it is, allocating advertising dollars across multiple media makes sense. Measuring this synergy is an important part of understanding the value of the Web in the media mix.
- Efficiency. When advertisers measure their cross-media investments using consistent criteria, they can determine which aspects work most efficiently. In some cases, as in the publicly released Dove campaign, reallocating some of a TV budget to increase reach and frequency on the Web was a more efficient way to meet branding objectives. Optimizing across media offers great money-saving opportunities.
- Specificity. Is Web advertising best when reinforcing a TV message? Should the Web be used to target customers who have expressed an interest in the brand? How about building sponsorships and fulfilling promotions? The optimal role of the Web in an integrated campaign will be different for every brand. Only by measuring integrated campaigns will advertisers be able to develop strategies that play each medium to its strength.
Most marketers are waking up to the fact their target is online. They must make an effort to reach their audience there. Helping them understand how to leverage the Web in a way that complements their other marketing investments is the key to our future success.