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Is Interactive Marketing Growing Up?

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For all those who keep waiting for Internet marketing to replace TV, there was an interesting story in eMarketer today that shows how insurance companies are using both TV and search as a one-two punch. eMarketer reported the results of several research firms and adds its own (correct) conclusions.

This fits entirely with what I hear from companies I speak with. Different industries will find their own marketing mixes—TV might not be part of every marketer’s toolbox or it might be decreasing rather than expanding. But more and more, marketers are measuring response and tailoring their marketing mix to match.

Insurers, according to the eMarketer report, find that TV galvanizes people to take action by either directly entering a Web site address or performing a search. Because insurance is an information-intensive sale, it makes sense that people would want to explore Web information before dialing up an insurance salesman on the phone.

Interactive marketing doesn’t mean the end of TV advertising. It means that marketers have a new choice for where to spend their money. Companies using multiple media channels must carefully allocate their responses to learn their optimal marketing mix.

Some companies are using matchback tools that employ formulas to correctly allocate credit, but even then, there are some that find that matchback tools must be carefully configured to ensure that they provide results across channels to really help your brand.

Others employ simple mechanisms that are effective. For example, E-LOAN credits sales made for searches for their brand name to TV, but sales made for more generic search terms to its search marketing campaign. Similarly, you must correctly credit sales to the most important marketing trigger to calibrate the right investment in each medium.

Video may have killed the radio star, but TV advertising didn’t kill radio or print advertising. The Internet won’t kill any of it either. Interactive marketing gives us one more choice for our marketing budget that we must use in concert with other marketing to achieve maximum effect.

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