Study Shatters Internet Marketing Myths

Companies that are spending lavishly on Web brand marketing and advertising in hopes of attracting young and trendy customers to their websites are overlooking the most profitable consumer sector and the simplest marketing remedies. These are just two of the surprising findings of an eBranding study conducted by Andersen Consulting and Online Insight.

The nationwide study on Internet marketing spending, "Beyond the Blur: Correcting the Vision of Internet Brands," shows that companies could realize dramatic returns from online marketing efforts if only they targeted their marketing to the ten percent of the population that buys 70% of all products online. That ten percent is primarily comprised of people 35-and-older, not the GenX segment so often associated with the Internet. Furthermore, the study found that the best ways to reach the buying public are: - Provide a rewarding customer experience, instead of barraging them with massive brand advertising. - Recognize who their customer really is; consumer needs are very, very different between segments and a website should not be designed as "one size fits all."

"When it comes to online marketing initiatives, companies are ignoring the basic marketing principles traditional businesses use - first, choose your target more deliberately, and then focus marketing efforts to reach them," said Stephen Dull, partner in Andersen Consulting's eBranding practice. "Instead, many companies are spending a lot of money on sweeping Internet marketing initiatives and huge advertising buys that are not targeted. This study affirms that 'Marketing 101' applies in the Internet world. Success is not achieved by throwing around as much money as possible, but by inspiring customers to buy more."

This U.S.-focused B2C research of online customers, offers important new insight into the perceptions of digital consumers. The landmark study's findings will help companies to measure and understand the true driving force behind their online customers' purchasing and, in turn, to devise better brand-building strategies across all customer interactions. The study's findings are especially vital to companies seeking to profit from online marketing initiatives during the expensive holiday and Super Bowl advertising cycle.

Another surprising finding is that nearly a third of online consumers are not motivated by price. According to the study, these online consumers are more interested in website speed, ease of use, security and overall brand selection.

"The secret to building brand equity is not so much in huge advertising buys, fancy logos or constant price-slashing; it's in fully understanding customers' needs and providing them with an exceptional experience tailored to those needs," said Dull.

The comprehensive study's findings are pertinent to companies seeking to establish, build, and sustain an Internet brand.

The study measured the desires of more than 2,000 online purchasers using B2C web