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Laugh Your Way to Business Success
There are many advantages and disadvantages associated with advertising on the Internet and the development of an e-business. Today it is very clear that the use of the Internet as another media channel is just the start of the application of the media in a business context. But there are many things that are to be considered.
A company cannot expect to gain a profit on an Internet activity based on the company¡¦s way in which it creates value and profit in the non-digital world. The consequence of this will most fre-quently be just another channel supported by an extra layer of parallel processes, which gives the company extra costs. Very few are able to derive a profit from this and for the majority the invest-ment cannot be characterized as anything else but a learning experience.
In order to avoid this, you have to change the way you think of e-marketing and integrate communi-cation experts in the process of composing the website. This has proven itself very profitable in the world of e-marketing, which is basically about attracting new customers and keeping the existing. But in order to attract new customers you have to incorporate such complex concepts as creativity and humour into your strategy.
Even though it is common sense that things like creativity and humour are rarely found in the office of a computer expert and are more likely to be found in ad- or communication agencies, it still seems as though the companies have failed to take advantage of this. As written in The Sunday Telegraph from July 15, 2001, research shows that 90 percent of websites are developed by com-puter experts or communication inexperts as they call them.
So if the companies started co-operating with advertising and communication experts in order to incorporate creativity and humour into their e-marketing strategy, and they should be able to laugh their way to e-business success.
But how effective is the Internet when used for a marketing purpose? In 2001, a research group called Forrester Research made an analysis of how the big websites market themselves. One of the things that stands out is the fact the websites spent almost half of their marketing budget on offline media such as magazines, television and radio. This strikes me as quite peculiar, as the websites should represent the digital world. But it just proves that Internet cannot stand alone when used for a marketing purpose. The analysis also showed that the most frequently used online methods were banner advertising, e-mail and ¡§buttons¡¨. These methods are really just a transfer of the way of thinking used when advertising in traditional media. The fact that these methods are actually the least effectual only supports the theory that when you are changing media you have to change the way you think.
The biggest advantage associated with Internet and e-business is in favour of the customers. In tra-ditional mass marketing there is a conflict of interest between company and customer. A positive thing for the company is not necessarily a positive thing for the customers as a whole. The market-ing language also shows a lot: You do not speak of customers, but of ¡§target groups¡¨ and ¡§cam-paigns¡¨ that have to ¡§win¡¨ ¡§market shares¡¨, like it were continents that had to be conquered. Then the companies want the customers to be loyal ¡V and it is not like they show that much loyalty them-selves. The examples of the companies¡¦ lack of loyalty are numerous.
That attitude does not bring you very far on the web, because on the Internet it is the customer who is in control. If the customer does not like what he or she sees, all it takes is one click and you are on the competitor¡¦s site and you might not return. So the companies have to bear in mind that all products can be copied, but relations cannot.
But in the end, it is just like it is with all new marketing methods. When used correctly and in com-bination with traditional media, it can prove itself useful.
So if the companies would rethink their e-marketing strategies, incorporate a bit more creativity and humour, work together with the right kinds of people, treat their customers with the loyalty they deserve and then combine it all with traditional media, I think it would work out just fine. ļ