Is It The Promise Of The Internet Or The Promise Of Synergy?

Talking with one of my board members last week, he did the kind of thing that board members do. Threw me a one liner that represents a hard question. (That’s one of the functions of board members). He asked me what business we thought we were in. Are we in the Internet business or the business of creating synergy between the Internet and other media/marketing efforts. My first answer was yes, we are in both of those businesses. But of course it is not as easy as that.

In the end, anything we do in media or marketing is part of a bigger picture. In order for most of us to competently deal with the Internet we had to become experts in it. That involved both success and failure along the way. In fact, you could argue that the Internet has had the fastest learning curve ever.

The Internet has come so far. In our striving to establish its credibility, we strove to make it “the most measurable of all media.” We learned how we could optimize campaigns on the fly. We experimented with the widest possible set of creative executions. We launched test after test to establish its viability to our clients.



Now, the Internet finally “comes of age” as a real player in the media mix, not just as an alternative for smaller budgets. Three factors are currently contributing to the new credibility of the Internet as part of many brand media mix efforts: The maturation and standardization of rich media formats, the proof of the awareness contribution through tests performed for clients like Dove Nutrium, Windows XP and MacDonald’s, and, the realization of a number of reach and frequency models that help the planner to document the contribution of the Internet to the traditional media plan using traditional media metrics.

The next step will involve looking to vendors like Telmar and IMS, using their media optimizers and cross media comparison and combination tools to understand how much Web advertising should be part of the mix and help explain the delivery gains in certain demographic and geographic quarters that might be undelivered by other media.

But the real benefits are only just starting to be realized from an overall marketing standpoint. These include, but are not limited to

  • Enabling up-front research to a degree never available before to the consumer, whether the end product is purchased via the Web or via retail
  • Closing the loop on promotions advertised on the Web and through traditional media through easing registration by consumers
  • Enabling longer term CRM efforts against the registration base
  • Sampling software and media products
  • Providing services to customers of product oriented companies that expands their relationship with the consumer
  • Easing the upgrade path for software companies and consumers
  • Providing traditional catalogue and mail order companies the opportunity to sell many more skus including small batch product offerings that could not be promoted or sold through their traditional channels
  • Testing pricing, creative and many other variables affordably
  • Market research that is more affordable than ever with incredibly fast turnaround for results
  • Lower entry cost for small business

    You get the point, I’m sure. In fact, I’ll be that I have just scratched the surface. The IAB actually has had a list up on their site for some time that could be helpful if you are looking for more things that the Internet could do. But the list is much further reaching than the one they have posted or my input above.

    What is your experience? What other examples do you have, not just from a media or creative standpoint but from a marketing synergy standpoint? Because the promise of synergy is here today. And more companies are tapping into it all the time.

    What a business!

    David L. Smith is President and CEO of Mediasmith, Inc.

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