Getting designs on Internet ads

Your article about the Internet entitled Net Brawl (MW November 27) brought back memories of the turf wars fought by general ad and direct marketing agencies some years back.

Then the DM agencies were displaying a “dog in the manger” attitude. They believed that only they could be relied upon for the safe stewardship of their trade. Time has shown the weakness of their position and integration has healed their battle scars.

Now it is the turn of the Internet design companies to rush to the ramparts. Unfortunately, despite their hi-tech weaponry, I believe they will lose – probably the battle and the war.

However, ad agencies have no cause for complacency because the probable victors will be their old adversaries – the DM agencies.

As Mark Curtis says: “Websites are about dialogue, about servicing customers…”. Could there be any better case for the skills and techniques of direct marketing?

When a reader comes to a Web page the thought running through their subconscious is: “What’s in it for me?” There are three major things a Website can offer: Entertainment (very subjective and often untargeted), masses of information (either topical or in-depth) or dialogue.

Some people laugh at direct marketers – I don’t think it’s because they find them entertaining – so I won’t defend that position. But when it comes to presenting masses of long copy information, with descriptive graphics or using the skills that engage a reader and provoke a response, direct marketers are the élite regiment and should be in the vanguard of any attack on the techies!

You only have to scroll through page after page of naf Websites to see evidence of the ineptitude displayed by their creators. Pages that confuse. Pages of an offer. Illegible text, confusing graphics – it’s a non-stop bombardment. Every electronic bell and whistle is employed. Hot spots, banners, hyperlinks and Java appear like shell craters disfiguring the landscape. This, I suggest, is the hallmark of the uncomprehending “Internet specialist” paying no heed to proven, response-generating techniques – or even simple communication and comprehension.

I’m afraid, if Internet design outfits want to win this fight, they’ll have to go back to marketing boot camp first and bone up on basic marketing skills.

Glenmore Trenear-Harvey

Strategic analyst and copywriter

London SW3

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