Web forces traditional marketers to ‘rethink everything’

26 Mar 2007

The web is changing the world of marketing forever – that’s according to the cover story of Marketing Age, the new marketing strategy magazine launched by Siliconrepublic.com’s mothership Whitespace Publishing today.

The publishing company has teamed up with the Marketing Institute of Ireland to create what it hopes will be “the” marketing strategy magazine for marketing professionals and decision makers.

According to the magazine’s cover story, increasingly active online communities such as MySpace, Bebo and YouTube are causing marketers to rethink their media strategies and exploit their digital potential.

“Consumers today want interaction; that’s what they’re used to,” said Janet French, a partner with Evotia Strategy and Planning. “They’re used to getting an immediate reaction and that’s what they expect from brands.”

The new internet, collectively termed the Web 2.0 generation, and the leading online brands all understand this, explained Michiel Boreel, an internet export and author based at IT consultancy Sogeti.

“Google, Yahoo!, Amazon and eBay are successful because they understand the power of communities,” he said.

There is evidence that well known Irish brands are coming around to this way of thinking. RTE has hinted strongly that user-generated content will play a part in its future internet strategy.

The charity Trocaire has taken its by now familiar Lenten campaign on to the web with a difference, by setting up a social networking website and purposely name-checking Bebo in the process.

But, according to the Marketing Age cover story, there is evidence that many Irish brands haven’t yet taken this on board. It cites a recent survey by Captivate Digital, which said that 53pc of Irish companies weren’t highly ranked in search engine results, reducing the chance of potential customers finding out about their products or services.

Whitespace editorial director Ann O’Dea said the fact that Marketing Age should take this theme for its inaugural cover story is a reflection of the rising challenges set for all marketers by the democratisation of the internet and through the phenomena of social networking and blogging.

Elsewhere in the magazine David Brain, president and CEO of Edelman Europe, talks of the Coke & Mentos phenomenon that took off on YouTube, demonstrating how explosive the two could be when mixed.

“For a little while there Coke was being used as a social icon and focus of interest – as a rocket propellant!” said Brain. “I think it probably made Coke cooler and part of youth culture in a way it never had been but the company certainly didn’t ask for the dialogue.”

Siliconrepublic.com writers John Kennedy and Gordon Smith have penned articles for the new glossy magazine, a further reflection of the marriage of marketing and technology.

By Niall Byrne