Production must take backseat on the Internet

The Internet is full of success stories, from the dramatic rise to 6.2 million users a week over five years to individual companies with large market shares and outrageous share prices.

A majority of the leading UK brands are now investing budgets in the Internet to capitalise on this success. Unfortunately, most of the investment is going to waste.

Most brands owners have recognised that the Internet’s communication abilities and audience is very attractive.

With the branding abilities of magazines, the targeting abilities of direct marketing and feedback abilities of the telephone, the Internet is a powerful hybrid medium and “all a brand needs is a Website”.

But “all a brand needs is a Website” is equivalent to saying, “television is powerful, so launch a branded TV channel”: very wrong. In the quest for this goal, company after company spends 90 per cent of the budget on Website production and the rest on advertising it. This results in uninspiring content, minimal audience, and poor value for money.

For the record, there are only three reasons to have a Website: if selling your brand requires detailed comparative information; or you can realistically become an e-commerce retailer; or you have 1m to invest in becoming a media owner.

If none of the above applies, then go back to the basics.

In any other media no one would ever spend more than ten per cent on production: Don’t treat the Internet any differently. Ninety per cent of the budget spent on buying audience from a media owner and only ten per cent on production would result in:

1) Reaching nine times as many users;

2) Campaigns designed to de liver messages and not to entice

click-through to a message on a Website;

3) Response based on a delivered message.

Brand owners know how to use media, so why do they treat a new medium any differently?

Maybe it’s that there’s more profit in production for new media consultancies, or maybe brand owners just don’t ask themselves what are they trying to achieve.

The Net is not teaching old dogs new tricks, it should be old dogs doing old tricks, but more efficiently and with better value for money.

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