The Killer App for Online Branding
Of course, this did not include the massive amounts of money companies were diverting into building their own websites, rebuilding them and rebuilding them again … and then throwing money at Google to get prospective customers to visit the sites. Even media companies (both traditional and new) have benefitted from the various lead-generation and lead-nurturing campaigns that aim to capture names and e-mail addresses, which are then deluged with sales materials in ever-sophisticated ways. However, the dollars invested in lead-generation are paltry compared with those invested in print, TV and radio campaigns just a decade or so ago.
Despite this internal investment and the attempts by many companies to become "brand publishers," they remain disappointed by the lack of site visitors. Social media has stepped up as the next big thing, and everybody has a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account or two—but still, the frustration builds as companies realize that, in the business-to-business space, brand really does matter. We have seen that well-known brands fair better on click-through on Google search results, and companies associated with certain solutions also fair better. This is where the killer app concept lies.
As the Rothenberg's IAB session suggests, the Internet has lagged in media spend because no branding solution exists beyond the rather literal banner ad—often ignored by site visitors. I believe that the media company that cracks this code will reap significant benefits. We are starting to see that extremely creative solutions such as the Community in a Box (CiaB) product—a new integrated marketing services organization targeting social media—from UBM's DeusM group can significantly increase companies' brand awareness and association. Other efforts, such as the "Drive for Innovation" product from EE Times—which involves multiple components, such as a nationwide driving tour of a Chevy Volt, games, contests, blogs, reality TV and lead generation, and is solely sponsored by distributor Avnet Express—is gaining great traction across the target audience. The single, killer app remains elusive, but online branding is the key growth engine for media companies, as it will encourage marketing executives to place increasing percentages of their marketing budgets with leading media websites. It should be a priority for us all to develop this solution. PE