The Killer App for Online Branding
As the business-to-business media industry continues to discuss subjects as diverse as HTML5, lead generation, the death of print, virtual events and mobile apps (to name just a few!), at a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Innovation Days conference, IAB President Randall Rothenberg stated quite categorically where the big opportunity lies for media and information companies, according to an article ("IAB Innovation Days: Rothenberg calls for 'brand moment' to boost digital ad share") in BtoB Online. Before we get to that opportunity, the IAB story reminded me of a recent experience I had at the marketing summit of one of our top clients, where I was keynoting.
I arrived early for my session ("The Media Company of the Future" was my topic) to witness Shar VanBoskirk, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester Research, present the "Splinternet"—a Forrester-coined term describing the fragmentation of the Internet into blogs, social networks, media websites, commercial websites, "walled gardens" of apps not searchable by Google, aggregators, etc. After building an extremely complex and confusing landscape for the assembled marketers in the room, she went on to give some stunningly simple advice for allocating marketing budgets—in essence, she suggested that companies should research how much time their target audiences spend gathering information with each medium and then apportion their marketing budgets at the same percentages. For instance, if the target audience spends 20 percent of its time with print media, then 20 percent of the marketing budget should be used for print advertising. As coarse and simplistic as this sounds, it resonated with me because it was audience-focused—an "outside-in" approach.
The Audience-Ad Spend Disconnect
In turn, research studies of our highly technical audience had consistently suggested that our audience was spending the majority of its information-gathering time online (up to 70 percent), but clients' budgets were seriously lagging with as little as 10 percent allocated to online advertising.