The Internet has catapulted to the marketing scene fast and furiously. Once considered a budgetary “optional extra,” the Internet has since moved to the high priority list for serious marketers. As newspapers reduce publication or worse, close down – and as broadcasting audiences change, the Internet has grown in importance for marketing your business.
When it comes to the Internet as a new business marketing medium, it’s worthwhile to review the history. Most importantly, how history has affected marketing budgets. Changes in marketing were evolutionary from the 1920s until the mid-1990s. Print, like newspapers and magazines, were the primary mediums for advertising. Then, radio began to capture a share of the marketing budget. Television expanded from the three networks of the 1950s to cable with hundreds of choices. This expansion was steady but slow. Although budgets were adjusted to include the new mediums as each one arrived to the market, there was resistance by many to each of these media outlets.
Have you ever looked up the meaning of paradigm? It is used to describe a way of thinking or a body of evidence, and we use the words “paradigm shift” to describe a significant change of thought or strategy or a new reality.
When things are uncertain, some may think it is premature to consider tackling new realities. This thought may resonate with the attitude, “Why try something new? I can use the same methods that have always worked in the past, especially since these are methods I understand.” This conviction may feel comfortable for some period of time, but many people wait until they are forced to try something new and in many cases, it is too late.
The Internet is a good example of a medium one shouldn’t postpone using, as well as a medium that is not waiting for businesses to catch up. With changes occurring on the Web every month, by the time some companies finish a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, there are new strategies or processes for consideration. These new strategies and processes then change budgets that were not part of the considerations for the RFP or the responses.
The Internet changes and grows because input and ideas come from everyone. There are no limits as to who submits their knowledge and in part this is due to the barrier to entry is almost zero. Unlike traditional marketing mediums that required significant infrastructure, the Internet only requires a computer and a connection.
Some examples of these new strategies and processes would include social media, PowerPoints, and video. In 2006 Social Media was limited to forums and blogs; however, by the time we got to 2008, we had MySpace, Facebook and Twitter to name a few. Video on the Web had been steadily been growing for a number of years, but became more popular with YouTube. PowerPoint communities which allow you to get your message out to the Web community have not totally caught on, however, they are increasingly growing as a good resource to get your message out.
We have to consider that the Internet basically has all of the three traditional marketing mediums within. Print, Radio and Video are all a part of the Internet, thus adding to the complication of budget considerations. The digital world also is supported through a variety of external hardware which includes mobile devices like laptops and iPhones. These mobile devices allow marketers to stay in touch with consumers no matter where they go.
Traditional media has always had an issue in giving clients adequate measurements to show a return on investment. Advertising was better than Public Relations, but neither gave concrete results. The Internet gives clients the ability of measuring everything from a news release to social media marketing. This includes not only traffic and sales to your Web site, but the viral nature of any content that is distributed (news, articles, banners, etc.).
As we budget considerations continue transitioning for some businesses, the Internet continues to grow rapidly. Those that embrace the change and engage the medium will get the benefits sooner. They will also be able to build upon their investments into the Internet medium, while others will have to catch-up at higher prices. Are you still considering how much of your budget should be for the Internet?