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September 1994

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A Survival Guide

by Glen Emerson Morris

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The Internet, like television and radio, is a technology that cannot help but transform our way of life, and our way of doing business. Even those businesses that manage to avoid using the Internet themselves will be unable to avoid its effects.

The Internet's effects on marketing and advertising will be particularly intense because the Internet is going to change the basic balance of power in mass communications. Unlike any previous mass media, the Internet is fundamentally decentralized, and so inexpensive that millions of people can afford to send messages to virtually millions of other people. Any network which replaces the Internet (or coexists with it) will have these same characteristics because they are inherent in the technology. Mass communications is being replaced by communication by the masses.

For marketing in general, the Internet offers a virtual Renaissance for anyone with a product or service to sell. The Internet makes it possible to give consumers detailed information on products that thirty second TV commercials will simply never be able to provide, and at a price the networks and newspapers will never match. In the future print and broadcast ads will be designed just to get the consumer to request more information about the product. The real selling won't start until the consumer logs on to the Internet for the information.

Advertising agencies may have a tougher time with the Internet.

The Internet has enabled millions of people to get vast amounts of news and information without having to see any advertising of any kind, and this number is only likely to grow. As a result, the major television networks and newspapers will find ratings continuing to erode, reducing the effectiveness and desirability of buys. Furthermore, many clients will go online on the Internet themselves, reducing their regular media buys to fund the effort. Agencies will find themselves getting fewer dollars to spend on ads that do less and less.

Those agencies willing to begin supporting Internet advertising now may find a new source of profits. By going online on the Internet themselves, agencies could charge their clients for making their advertising available on the Internet, in effect becoming a network channel themselves. By monitoring responses on the Internet to print and broadcast ads, agencies will be able to evaluate performance of ads more effectively than ever before. Consumer responses on the Internet will also provide valid quantitative data for agencies to give to clients proving the effectiveness of their ads. Agencies could also sell clients the names and addresses of the consumers who requested more information via the agencies Internet connection.

The window of opportunity for agencies may not be open long.

Currently, there are thousands of corporations with Internet access, able to send advertising data to 30 million people. However, a spokesman for PSI, the leading Internet service provider, did not know of a single advertising agency using their service for Internet access.

Historically, advertising agencies have been slow to adopt new digital technologies. In the past, they could afford the delay. With the Internet, any delay could be fatal. By the time agencies are willing and able to support advertising on the Internet, they may find that their clients have already made other arrangements.

Copyright 1994 - 2010 by Glen Emerson Morris All Rights Reserved

' keywords: Internet advertising, Internet marketing, business, advertising, Internet, marketing. For more advertising and marketing help, news, resources and information visit our Home Page.

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