Last week, at a conference set in the heights of Utah’s Deer Valley, leading publishers, agencies, and marketers met to hash out strategies for increasing the adoption and efficacy of online marketing.
Major industry stakeholders were represented at iMedia’s Brand Summit. Especially valuable to the frank discussions about the industry’s future were the marketers at the conference, representing leading companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Philips, and Procter & Gamble. These companies spend billions in advertising, and they, too, have a lot at stake in making the Internet an efficient marketing channel.
It is not easy being responsible for growing a brand in today’s difficult economic climate. Marketers are under pressure from a variety of forces, and these pressures play a strong role in shaping their priorities. The presentations and panel discussions outlined some of the most important ones:
- Fragmented media channels. Twenty-five years ago, advertising on the three TV networks was sufficient to reach a vast majority of consumers. Since then, the media environment has fragmented into a myriad of cable channels, niche magazines, and Web sites.
Increasingly, advertisers who want to reach their target audience find it necessary to build integrated campaigns across a variety of media platforms. Coordinating tactics across media platforms and maintaining a consistent marketing message throughout are difficult challenges.
- Tightening budgets. Because of the current economic climate, marketing budgets are shrinking, even as sales goals become ever more aggressive. Marketers at major companies are under pressure to find efficiencies in the way they build their brands.
In a marketplace where new products constantly crowd the shelves, marketers find it imperative to maintain top-of-mind awareness and brand equity. But while the number of avenues for promoting a brand grows, they often find the resources they have to reach their objectives slowly diminishing.
- Effectiveness measurement. Ultimately, every brand manager is responsible not for communication goals, such as building brand awareness, but for sales goals — moving product.
Measuring marketing programs’ effectiveness is more important than ever. Learning what works and what doesn’t is how brands build competitive advantage. The ability to prune inefficient marketing programs and funnel resources into successful ones can be worth millions.
Given all these pressures, the presence of more than a hundred major marketers at the conference spoke volumes. More and more, major marketers view the Internet as the key to solving many of the problems they face.
Many in our industry have been frustrated by the hesitation among major brands to invest in Internet marketing. Ultimately, it is up to us to address marketers’ needs and solve their marketing problems. Understanding and addressing the challenges marketers face is the only path to sustained industry growth.
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