Back to the Future
If visits to a flurry of New York-based digital marketing and online media conferences this fall are any indication, the digital marketing revolution is here to stay.
According to Randall Rothenberg, president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online ad spending has grown at “a torrid pace,” 26.8 percent, during the first half of this year over the same period last year. In addition, online advertising hit the $10 billion milestone in the first half of the year — for the first time in history — Rothenberg said, speaking at the IAB’s MIXX Conference & Expo 2.7.
Digital media also is becoming more and more mainstream. In fact, sessions at both MIXX and Media Post’s OMMA Conference & Expo — which took place during the same days in September — offered presentations about how online video, online gaming, widgets, search engine optimization, behavioral targeting, online lead generation and consumer-generated media can improve response rates and offer some measurable results.
Of course, some relatively new technologies also were highlighted, and their benefits still are being debated. For example, one MIXX session discussed how information is being exchanged and real-life goods are being sold in 3-D immersive experiences.
At eM+C, we’re covering immersive experiences as well. Check out this issue’s eSpotlight, which features Catherine Smith, Linden Lab director of marketing and brand strategy, discussing her company’s flagship Second Life 3-D community, and how marketers can benefit from it.
While these technologies are set to expand in the future, in this month’s cover story we decided to highlight an Internet-based company that emphasizes the secret weapon of every successful enterprise: good customer service. As Tony Hsieh, CEO/director of Zappos.com, a leading online shoe retailer, explains, outstanding customer service is the key reason his company is on track to reach $800 million in sales this year. In fact, marketing — digital or otherwise — is used only sparingly at Zappos.
So, while digital marketing technologies are important tools, remember from where you came. In most cases, it’s the tried-and-true techniques like great customer service that will keep your customers coming back for more.
eM+C is launching an “Ask the Experts” column in our Jan./Feb. 2008 issue, and we need to hear from you! Send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include “Ask the Experts” in the subject line. Your question could appear in our next issue, with an answer from a leading digital marketing expert.