In 1999 a friend and I started an Internet ad site. I began working full-time for the business in January 2000. From that point on, every single marketing campaign I took part in happened online. For me, the world of marketing transformed completely in just 3 short years.
Now it seems that every business is moving its ad spend online. Even in a recession, the data shows Internet marketing spend continues to outstrip offline. The question somebody from 1990 might ask, is why? Surely offline advertising still works?
Well yes it does, but it can't possibly hope to compete with the benefits of online marketing. Consider the disadvantages of offline advertising...
- Offline isn't automated, so tracking is manual. Of course, you can direct people to a web site. But you can't be certain everybody has access to the web so must also provide a manual response mechanism (which will probably cost money)
- Almost everything about offline costs money. Online you can dilute your ad costs with free promotion techniques
- It takes longer. Some things take a while online (e.g. waiting for articles to be approved). But most things happen straight away
- It's possible to test multiple concepts and pick a winner within 24 hours. This used to take weeks offline. What's more, if you have sufficient social media marketing leverage, you can run your testing at no cost to you (this web page explains how to get free traffic with Twitter)
- You can't change it once it's done. If you print 5,000 fliers and then find an error, you either live with it wear the cost of replacement. Web content is real time (apart from the lead time on article marketing of course), so is easy to change. And it costs nothing to do so
- Some markets still aren't well represented on the web
- Some media is still better offline (e.g. paper magazines are easier to read and more convenient)
- The web isn't absolutely everywhere (e.g. billboards - though this is changing)
- Most people still listen to the radio while driving
I also think we've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with Internet marketing, as the social media marketing revolution has demonstrated.