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The Death of Offline Advertising – And The Birth of “New Marketing”

(I originally wrote a brief post to the AIMS discussion list on this topic and was then asked by Direct Marketing News to write an extended commentary based on that post. Here is my original draft of the column which inexplicably differs significantly from the in print (but not online) version. Consider this the true version please.)
The Death of Offline Advertising – And The Birth of “New Marketing”
At the end of March 2004, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sang a sweet song to online marketers looking to forget the dark years that followed the heady days of the Internet ad boom.
During the company’s MSN Strategic Account Summit, Ballmer told the 500 or so US ad executives in the audience that 100% of ad dollars will be spent online by 2010. That’s no typo. He said all marketing will be online in six years.
Given that major consumer packaged goods advertisers are generally spending less than 1% of their budgets online and that many advertisers are still unsure of how to market online, why would Ballmer make such a bold prediction?
Certainly it is in Microsoft’s best interest to tell advertisers to up their online ad budgets to 8-13% now in preparation for the day when all their budgets are online. MSN counts on online ad revenue, so it seems natural they’d want ads online instead of in channels Microsoft does not (yet) own. And more online activity means more devices, and that means more software, and that means more money for Microsoft.

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Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience

Great column (as always) by Mark Hurst. This one, entitled Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience, deals with an all too common problem – companies that budget well for advertising to get people to their site but spend almost nothing to ensure that people can actually use the site once they get there.
I see this every day as I meet with companies to discuss their web sites. Many of them have such underfunded and poorly thought out sites that they don’t even know what the potential is. I met with a major insurance company who was happy that five customers had signed up using their complex online quote and purchase process. Five! And that was a good day. My guess is they process that many customers a minute through call centres and sales agents. No wonder the CEO doesn’t want to spend more on web initiatives.

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