Friday, July 22, 2005

Marketers Chase Customer Ready to Buy Now

The graph says it all. Marketers are following contextual opportunities with online media that can deliver prospects who are in the market to buy. The word coined by the interactive media business is behavioral marketing. I call it contextual marketing. Either way, the trend is unmistakable.

The Economist ran an article "Crowned at Last" from which I pilfered the graph to the left. Their story recognizes the clear and present danger that the customer is now in charge, and marketers are learning to live in this brave new world. Click to the article to get a sharper image, but the top line is Internet Online Media, followed by Spanish TV, Cable Network TV and down toward the bottom are Newspapers, Magazines and Network TV.

Consider the plight we had just as short as five years ago when 98% of our direct mail went into the trashcan before it was opened simply because it arrived at a time when the recipient was not in the market to buy what we were selling. Bad timing is ruinous to marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

Consider how different that experience is today, using online media. Now the customer who is considering buying a new car heads for the www and tours the automotive sites and a few car directories. He then decides to click over to a news site and catch up on the day's headlines. And there it is right in front of his eyes ... three well-placed, contextually relevant local dealer ads that are centered squarely on the SUVs the customer was researching just minutes ago. One of the ads offers the prospect the opportunity to customize a brochure that is digitally printed and mailed out the same day. The brochure shows the models, features and pricing -- all based on input from the customer. The next day the dealer calls to arrange a time for a test drive.

According to The Economist: Companies with some of the world's biggest advertising budgets are beginning to look for new ways of attracting consumers' attention. Jim Stengel, global marketing officer for Procter & Gamble (P&G), is one of the advertising industry's harshest critics, awarding it a “C minus” for its ability to embrace new media. And Larry Light, who has been giving McDonald's a makeover as its chief marketing officer, says bluntly: “The days of mass marketing are over.”

In this case, the graph above tells a much bigger story than at first might be seen.


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