August 22, 2010

And In This Corner...

What research is available to demonstrate the superiority of online market research versus traditional -- in terms of "soundness" and validity -- and and vice versa?
In my experience I do find that online marketing methods are more efficient than traditional marketing in terms of "soundness," "validity," and most importantly, measurability and ROI, however, I feel an integrated, 360-degree approach is really key to the marketing mix.
Here are some great statistics on the effectiveness of online marketing but it also speaks to integration as a winning approach:
I agree with (name ommitted) who asks whether online is really considered nontraditional at this point. However, given the current economic climate, I find online marketing the more efficient of the two.
Unfortunately, the traditional marketing and advertising sectors are bearing the brunt of the current economic conditions budget cuts. Emarketer reports that 59% of marketing executives initiated a decrease in spending on traditional marketing in 2008 and 65% decreased budgets for traditional advertising. Additionally, the Newspaper Advertising Association of America reports that total newspaper advertising revenues fell by $3-billion in the first six months of 2008, marking the lowest level in 12 years.
In stark comparison to the struggling traditional marketing sectors, online marketing firms have been steadily building market share for several years and are surprisingly unaffected by the current failing markets. Displaying a clear strength in a clearly chaotic business environment, both paid search and online advertising revenue have grown by over 28% since 2007. Marketing Sherpa reports that nearly half of medium to large businesses plan to increase their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) spending in the upcoming year.
I find online marketing benefits outweigh those of more traditional methods in that online offers...
  1. Quantifiable Results.  Businesses who advertise online or use SEO can track and measure precisely how their company was discovered, the keywords used in a Google search, click through rates on advertisements, and direct sales results based on internet ads or searches. With this specific knowledge, tailoring campaigns to a particular market becomes easier and ROI can be easily monitored.
  2. Flexible Messaging.  With traditional marketing and advertising methods, there are no second chances at making an impression or communicating a message effectively. Once an ad is placed and printed it is essentially permanent. Online marketing is a much more forgiving and flexible option. If it is shown that internet ads are not getting enough attention, companies can quickly and easily make strategic adjustments and reap the rewards.
  3. A Focused Approach.  Using internet marketing, a company can hone in on specific customers that are searching for a particular product or service. Rather than convincing a customer to try their product, internet marketing works to position a company as a resource for those consumers actually seeking their specific business offerings.
  4. Cost Effectiveness.  SEO and internet advertising is quite cost effective in comparison with traditional marketing and advertising.

Now more than ever it is important to think strategically about where and how a marketing budget is spent.  With online marketing options showing marketers greater value, flexibility, and insight into the changing trends of the market, we can expect to see more companies advertising online to help their firm weather succeed in the future.
What is the most important variable in your marketing mix?