The Incompetence of General Ad Agencies
Advertisers increasingly want more-detailed feedback on the effectiveness of their online marketing efforts, both to justify their increased spending on the Web and to help guide their future allocations across all available media.
And in a New York Times story—titled, “How Many Site Hits? Depends on Who’s Counting”—Louise Story wrote:
How many people visited Style.com, the online home of Vogue and W magazines, last month? Was it 421,000, or, more optimistically, 497,000? Or was the real number more than three times higher, perhaps 1.8 million?
The answer — which may be any, or none, of the above — is a critical one for Condé Nast, which owns the site, and for companies like Ralph Lauren, which pay to advertise there. Condé Nast’s internal count (1.8 million) was much higher than the tally by ComScore (421,000) or Nielsen/NetRatings (497,000), whose numbers are used to help set advertising rates, and the discrepancies have created a good deal of friction.
In Direct Marketing 101, beginning students learn the basic steps needed to persuade a prospect to become a customer. This inviolable rule applies to direct mail, off-the-page-advertising, DRTV and radio, and the Internet. It all comes down to the acronym, AIDA.
Where general advertising falls is in the Action phase.
If you have persuaded someone to buy—or donate or seek further information—it is imperative to have an action device so you can close the loop and consummate the transaction. An action device can take the form of an order form in a direct mail package, a coupon at the bottom of an ad, a cents-off coupon in an FSI, an 800-number or a hyper-link on a Web ad to click on.
With no action device, the ad will be instantly forgotten in the clutter of 3,000 other advertising messages the average consumer is hit with each day along with the thousands of other interruptions in the ordinary business of living.