Posts Tagged ‘interactive marketing’

The Silver Lining for Interactive?

December 28th, 2008

This recession will shake things up for marketers.  Now is the time to make changes that are long overdue.

Times are Changing!
Since 1997 we’ve benefited from a lengthy bull market characterized by ongoing growth in sales, profit and budgets.  While most marketers are aware they have been under-investing in digital marketing, the impetus to change has been lacking. When things are good it’s easy to maintain the status quo and do what you’ve always done.  That time has officially ended.

Experts tell us we are now well into a recession and it may be a long one.  The impact on business has already been noticed.  While most follow a knee-jerk reaction to cut costs across the board, others are using this downturn as an opportunity to retrench, retool and position themselves to address a shrinking pie by taking a bigger piece.  These forward-thinking companies are taking a hard look at where they invest their marketing dollars and what they gain in return.

Results matter!
In this new era of marketing, there is only one true precept: results matter. Some sacred cows like print ads, TV commercials, yellow page promotions and radio spots no longer provider the ROI they used to.  And if they don’t provide a sufficient ROI, they need to be cut.

Even within digital there are investment decisions that need to be re-evaluated. Shiny new objects like viral videos, games, and mobile may be cool and trendy, but you can’t take accolades to the bank.

The case for increasing the allocation of budget digital media is compelling. Here are 3 reasons you should increase your investment in online media for 2009:

1. Media consumption and customer behavior. As a close second to TV, the Web now accounts for more than 30% of daily media consumption, with Print and Radio battling for 3rd place in the 10% range.  Customer behavior – there are very few product or service categories (B2C or B2B) where buying decisions are not influenced by the Web. As consumers we’ve come to rely on the Web to do product or vendor research, do comparison shopping, view ratings and reviews or otherwise become knowledgeable enough to make a good purchase decision.  The web plays a critical role in most customer purchase decisions. This is as close as we can come to the holy grail of delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time

2, Inherent advantages of digital media. These include but are not limited to:

  • Affordable: first, online media is much less costly than TV and it is available to companies of all sizes.  Where else can small businesses position themselves next to big brands?  This is an opportunity for the little guy, and a threat to the giants.
  • Actionable: after 10 years of being programmed to “click here” we are not too different than Pavlov’s dogs. If we see something of interest, we click to learn more.  This allows all online ads, even those intended to create brand awareness, to have a direct response component.
  • Targeted – we can target specific audiences based on demographics, geography, behavior, context or interests. Whether you are buying search, display or email ads you can target to your heart’s content.
  • Dynamic: we can change and test all types of creative elements including copy, images, CTAs and the post-click destination of the audience. We can quickly change and test creative in ways no other medium can offer.
  • Measurable: by measuring click-through rates, quality of traffic and post-click conversion rates, we can determine what is driving awareness, engagement and transactions.  The one element missing in most media overly abundant in digital media.  The trick is knowing what to measure.

3. Relative performance – the increasing use of the Web, combined with its inherent advantages discussed above, allow most marketers to see superior results from digital media vs. traditional outlets.  Every one of our clients find that the returns from online marketing significantly outperform other channels.  If ROI is important to your organization, you can’t afford not to invest in online marketing.

The bottom line is that status quo marketing is no longer acceptable.  If brands don’t evolve, they will not succeed.  There are too many choices and many smart competitors.  Smart marketers, both large and small, national and local, will use this opportunity to re-allocate budgets and position their companies to thrive, not just survive, in a down market.

I believe this recession will create great opportunities for companies that are able to respond accordingly.  For those who have been waiting to make the leap from 20th century marketing, this is the time to take action.  The difference from recent years is that ROI-based marketing is no longer a dream.  It’s a requirement.

If you have thoughts I’d love to hear them!

Digital Success in Troubling Times

November 20th, 2008

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at a luncheon hosted by AAF Houston and the Houston Interactive Marketing Association.  The theme was “what you need to know NOW”. These are challenging times for all businesses and now, more than ever, we need to focus our marketing efforts (and dollars) on those initiatives that produce the best results.

My presentation is below for your viewing pleasure.  The main takeaways are as follows:

1. Media consumption and media fragmentation are making digital channels more and more important for all companies.

2. As marketers we have to create content that consumers WANT to consume, and allow them to engage us when and how they choose.

3. There are numerous examples of savvy brands using digital media to reach and engage customers in a cost-effective way.

4. Despite a complex and overwhelming set of digital media options, there are some tried and true tactics that will provide the foundation for online marketing success.

5. Social media is becoming increasingly important, but you should have a plan before you dive in.

View my presentation on slideshare:

Digital Success in Troubling Times – Steve Latham – Spur Interactive

Thanks again to AAF and HiMA for allowing me to share my thoughts. If you have thoughts, comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you! Also feel free to Join me on facebook or Follow me on Twitter.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Notes from the Road: Your Unmet Needs?

July 24th, 2008

Over the past 10 days I’ve had the opportunity to speak with marketers in Milwaukee, Chicago and Boston (via the OMS tour) about interactive.  Regardless of industry, markets or size, there are some common threads that run through most organizations.  The common challenges are:

1) Figuring out what to do and where to start (paid search, natural search, email marketing, display advertising, social media (and its 31 flavors), ecommerce, video, rich media, sms, etc.). In other words they  need a Strategy.

2) Measuring activity and translating web metrics into business results (e.g. leads, sales, revenue, ROI).  This is especially challenging for those who rely on their web presence to seed and support offline transactions (in other words, 99% of U.S. companies).

3) Educating upper management on the benefits, opportunities and threats represented by digital media.

If these happen to be your pain points too, you’re in good company.  Even though we’ve been in the digital arena for a decade, most marketers are still scratching the surface in terms of maximizing value from their web presence and leveraging digital media.  Most admit there is much more to be done before they can say they’re doing a sufficient job.

The good news is that the models have been proven, the documented successes are there and the path to online marketing success is becoming much clearer.  So there is hope, and a lot to be excited about.  Now get back to work!

BTW – for some ideas on how to address the issues above read the article Overcoming Barriers to Online Investment.  You can also check out the OMS blog where I explain how to calculate ROI from online marketing.

Let’s hear from you! If you have thoughts or questions re: these issues, please comment!

And if you like what you read, please feel free to share with your friends.  Click “share this” below for details.

Thanks for your time!

Conference Recap – Part 1

July 16th, 2008

If you missed Internet Retailer, AD-Tech, the Internet Ad Bureau conference or Online Marketing Summit, you’re in luck!  Below are some of the highlights and takeaways from the conference.  Feel free to share with your colleagues!


The Web continues to grow in importance to all of us:

  • Ecommerce will exceed $550bn globally and $200 billion in the U.S. in 2008, still accounts for less than 4% of U.S. retail sales
  • IBM reported that adults spend almost as much time online as they do watching TV: 60% of adults spend 1-4 hours online each day (66% watch 1-4 hours of TV)
  • Teens spend 20% more time online than they do watching television (13 hours / week)

Online advertising remains one of the economy’s fastest growth markets…

  • Digital ad spend is expected to exceed $26bn in 2008 (up 23% from 2007) and $41bn by 2011.
  • Digital now comprises 7.5% of ad spend (up from 5% in 2006).
  • 85% of B2B marketers are increasing online budgets in 2008.
  • GM is shifting 50% of its $3bn ad budget to digital
  • McKinsey reported that by 2010, 2/3 of CMOs expect to spend more than 10% of ad budgets online. 11% expect to spend more than 50% of budgets online. More than 2/3 of respondents believe online media is more efficient than traditional advertising.

Traditional media channels are struggling (Geoff Ramsey, eMarketer)

  • Radio ad spending is expected to contract 3% in 2008
  • Newspaper ad spend is expected to contract 8% in 2008

Many still struggle with online marketing (Chris Vollmer, Booz Allen Hamilton)

  • #1 pain point: inability to measure effectiveness of online efforts
  • Also of note: brands need to improve integration of all activities (creative, media, reporting, analysis).
  • Only 25% of respondents felt they were sufficiently savvy to manage the entire interactive process.

Leaders are taking action to put in place:

  • Metrics and capabilities to assess impact of digital efforts
  • ROI dashboards
  • New positions to coordinate integration of efforts and agency relationships

Leading digital agencies and media companies…

  • Invest to help marketers “get it”
  • Link metrics to marketer brand/business objectives
  • Don’t just sell ad space – they sell solutions
  • Turn Consumer Insight to Marketer Foresight


  • The line between “above the line” and “below the line” is becoming blurred.
  • The need for accountability and an increase in younger CMO’s will drive digital. Of all media channels, TV may get hurt the most.