Why Companies Shouldnt Rely on Traditional Marketing

    October 5, 2005

Frequently, professionals view Internet Marketing as the dark, mysterious tunnel that goes on for miles.

Some see a light at the end of the tunnel while others see no end in sight. Without the perceived “in-your-face” connection, professionals assume they receive with traditional marketing (e.g. TV, Radio, Direct Mail, or Trade Shows), they are hesitant to invest in the Internet. “How will our small company get listed on a search engine that already has millions of results?” “Will our target market even see our pay-per-click advertisements?” “How can our website bring more business into our store?” These questions reflect the views professionals, unfamiliar with the benefits of Internet marketing, have toward this form of promotion.

Target Audience

The number one fear professionals have about Internet marketing is the ability to obtain or gain their target audience online. Unlike traditional marketing, there are no pre-determined prospects that companies can discuss or send their promotional messages to and maintain a sense of security that they are received. Professionals must understand the following Internet trends:

– 95% of purchasing agents use the web to research products and services, B2B Magazine Survey.

– 73% of C-Level executives depend on the Internet to learn about new products or services, Emarketer.

– In general, there are 184-million Internet users in America alone. When purchasing a product or service, 68.3% of Internet users utilize search engines during the consideration or research phase while 42.6% use search engines to make their decision, Enquiro.

The Internet is used to make professional and consumer purchasing decisions by millions of Internet users everyday and there are tools available that have made it easier for these users to narrow their searches in order to find the specific products and services they are looking for. Key Internet features that have made it easier to find particular products and services online include:

– Keyword selection tools enable companies to optimize their website for the specific keyword(s) they believe their target audience will use to find their products and/or services online

– Search engines have sophisticated local and product (i.e. Google Local and Froogle) search options available to gain more controlled results

– Pay-per-click advertisements can be tailored to display within local searches

– E-mail marketing can be used to send targeted e-mail to select customers.
There are Internet marketing methods available that enable companies to define and capture their target audiences. Upon establishing a website online, it is important that companies utilize Internet marketing strategies in order to achieve their marketing objectives.

Traditional vs. Internet Marketing

Search marketing is the most efficient way to find products or information and the best way for advertisers to find and acquire customers. For every lead obtained using a traditional marketing method, companies spend more money then they would using the Internet.

The objective of all marketing methods is to accomplish one or more of the following goals:

– Awareness – associate your company with the products or services the company provides

– Informational/Educational – educate consumers on features, advantages, benefits, and specifications of your offering

– Branding – make the market aware of the company’s brand and identity

– Leads/Sales – the consumer responds to a specific call-to-action, i.e. walks in with a coupon, orders a product, requests a demo, etc

When compared to traditional marketing strategies, (i.e. Outdoor, TV, Radio, Trade Shows, and Direct Mail) Internet marketing accomplishes all four goals with the added capability of allowing buyers to finalize the purchasing process by placing an order online. .

Consider this Scenario:

You’re sitting at home watching television when a good friend calls you to discuss your plans for the weekend. When you realize you’ve got nothing exciting planned, you recall a new Italian restaurant advertised on television and in the newspaper a few days prior.

However, you can’t recall the exact phone number or address advertised within the ads. You call information for the phone number and then call the restaurant immediately; realizing Italian food is looking better and better with each number you press. After a few minutes of talking to the restaurant’s supervisor, you obtain the name of the restaurant, hours, address, and dishes.

But, this isn’t enough. Although the television, newspaper ads and conversation with the supervisor were positive, you’re curious about the quality of the company; “Do I really want to drive across town for this?” You decide to research the company via the Internet and find several other Italian restaurants in your search. When you locate your restaurant’s website, you see that it’s been open for 15-years, received positive reviews from local restaurant critiques including customers. You even notice its apart of the local chamber of commerce and maintains a high cleanliness rating with city inspectors. You also see a place where you can download the restaurant’s dining menu, purchase gift certificates online as well as the restaurant’s special sauces and salad dressings.

With the additional information and discount coupons, provided by the website, you decide to make the 30-minute drive and check out the restaurant.

The above scenario is the typical purchasing process of today’s consumers. It is important to realize that two key factors influence consumers to respond to marketing advertisements; quality of service and incentives. Marketing methods that are capable of dispensing both are usually capable of gaining the sale.

Internet Marketing Strategies

There are two categories companies fall under regarding Internet marketing; Big Expectations and No Hope:

1. Big Expectation – Because so many people use the Internet, our company will gain leads/sales.

2. No Hope – Because so many people use the Internet, our company will not gain leads/sales.

Big Expectation companies are companies who recently created a corporate or eCommerce website but have not proactively utilized Internet marketing strategies to capture the attention of their target audience. Therefore, they have a website that is only visible to search engines when customers perform searches using the company’s name or specific product names. The website contains little to no relevant information about the products, services, quality of service and call-to-action that is needed in order to gain leads/sales.

No Hope companies, on the other hand, are companies who’ve had a web presence for months (even years) but have not gained leads/sales because they have not integrated Internet marketing strategies into their marketing budgets. They created a web presence expecting immediate sales, but did not receive the expected results. Therefore, they look at the Internet as an impossible means of gaining sales and continue to dispense more money into less-effective and expensive marketing methods.

Internet Marketing Assistance

The reason why companies fall into these categories is because they did not have the time, staff, or information available that would have given them the leads/sales they expected from their website. Custom Information Services (CIS) is experienced with assisting companies develop effective websites and Internet marketing strategies that improve the visibility of corporate and eCommerce websites and, above all, increase sales.

***If you’re a manufacturer or distributor interested in selling your products online, CIS can integrate a shopping cart solution into your existing or new website. eCommerce shopping carts have been proven to increase sales and make it easier for partners, vendors, distributors and/or customers to do business with manufacturers. We can customize our shopping cart solution so that it will work with, not against, your current process manufacturing software and specific buying processes.

Internet Marketing Facts

1) The Internet is used primarily as a resource to research products and services.

2) Most high priced items are purchased offline, for example cars, houses, etc

3) Americans make-up the majority of online users and online purchases

4) Compared to Outdoor, TV, Radio, Direct Mail, and Trade Show advertising, Internet Marketing is the most effective way of gaining product awareness, informing or educating potential customers, branding exposure, and, more importantly, leads or sales.

5) During buying process (Awareness >>Consideration or Research>> Decision >> Purchase) search engines are used primarily during the Consideration and Decision phases.

6) Top three online activities of Internet users are e-Mail, search engines, and research products or services (going directly to the company’s website).

7) 71% of Internet users don’t go past the second page, therefore ranking high on the 1st page is crucial to obtaining online visibility

8) Two critical players who will use search engines ands search differently are Influencers and Decision Makers

a) Influencers

Use four or more words during searches

Respond to Call to Action (e.g. online form for trial download)

b) Decision Makers

Use two to three words for searches

Less likely to respond to call-to-action and more likely to pick-up the phone and call the company

Valerie Harris has been a Web Developer with Custom Information Services for over four years. She has assisted several companies improve the design of there website, implement Internet marketing strategies and integrate eCommerce into existing websites.