The Rise of the Internet – The New Force of the Consumer
Even before the boom of the dot-com industry, marketers have thought of Internet as a potential advertising environment. Predictions about what would come next in Internet, technology, advertising or commerce and how such changes would impact the consumer behavior were regarded as too futuristic when they were released. But in most cases, the reality exceeded even the most daring predictions.
The present article is a study of the mechanisms that ensured the success of Internet as an efficient advertising media, and will discuss the growing role of the Internet in the modern advertising world, against the evolution of the powerful media, that is Television. We will try to observe closely the development of the Romanian Internet landscape, following in the development of this “new media”, its advantages and the reach of the targeting beyond any other media. The importance of such a study is essential for the Romanian advertising industry and the marketing specialists alike, as we are discussing not just of an industry, but of a new chapter in the human history.
Back in 1995, US author Clifford Stoll published in the reputed magazine Newsweek his strong opposition towards all the predictions about the evolution of Internet, dismissing e-commerce, interactive libraries, virtual communities, portable and size palm computers, or even cyber sex, all of which are now part of our lives. (Hyperactive, 2011). At such pace of development, the task of looking at tomorrow becomes even more challenging. The tools and media that are being experimented today will become common place in a short period of time. Augmented reality, location based services, cloud computing are news at the moment, but their application will transform them in tomorrow reality and the Internet as we know it today will provide an even larger area of opportunity. Companies are trying hard to follow consumers into a more digitally oriented future, and create business models that will provide a controllable Return of Investment.
While the media and entertainment sector will continue to dominate, their growth is slowing substantially as consumers migrate to media delivered through digital and mobile channels. Digital and mobile distribution constituted only 5% of global media and entertainment spending in 2007 (Goeres, 2010 – Deloitte study Where the truth grows lies). However, during the next five years (2007 – 2011) there revenues have accounted for 24% of the industry’s growth and will constitute 10% of global media and entertainment spending in 2012.
The marketers today are aware that, although the recession has brought about the resizing or budget constraints, this does not mean limiting the freedom of inventing new plans and marketing programs, promotional strategies and adapted to new consumer buying habits. What are the most important trends?
- TV advertising expenses, expenses for attendance at trade fairs and promotional materials are replaced by “vehicles” more efficient in terms of costs and influence such as Internet and print advertising;
- Although the Internet is an important “voice”, the companies must not neglect the volatility of company’s reputation in online environment, where consumers’ negative views can easily destabilize the company, especially a publicly traded one;
- The mass media remains a key factor supporting the brand;
- Social networks have become an unrivalled visibility factor, which can create inventive campaigns, extremely low cost but highly memorable
- A greater focus on print production, both in the content, the quantities produced and suppliers can bring about savings of up to 30%, which can be channelled into other projects;
- Social responsibility and community involvement are two extremely influential trends, used with great success in recent years in the U.S. and Europe and are gradually introduced by companies in Romania (Petrom is the most active in this field, with on-going projects, while other significant players trying to keep up, such as E.ON and Rompetrol). Difference to the actions of PR is given by the measurable benefits visible to the community and is an essential support for loyalty.
With the move from traditional media advertising budgets towards the Internet, with decreasing importance Above-the-line media (traditional media) to the advantage of below-the-line (PR and viral marketing, advertising / communication point of sale software loyalty and customer relationship management), these trends are expected to bring about reduced visibility of major television networks. Budgetary reallocations in major players are not yet dramatic enough to provide and replace traditional media, namely television. Modern advertising vehicle still fail to reach multiple demographics audiences, in spite of lower cost and time. The new communication platforms, whether online or mobile, will not be able to overcome traditional media, without a strong migration of promotion budgets.
This is an excerpt from the article ”The Rise of the Internet – The New Force of the Consumer”, presented at the International Marketing Conference ”Marketing from Information to Decision”, Cluj Napoca, Romania, October 28th, 2011