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The Four Shifts In Marketing Caused By The Internet

No one would disagree that the Internet has changed the way we all view marketing. After 25 years in traditional advertising, marketing and brand building, most of which was spent watching the degeneration of the ad agency model as centric to the marketing process, I now wake up in the mornings with the knowledge that I am ahead.

Let me repeat. I am ahead. And for all those still in the ad agency world I just want to say, I am ahead.

Why? How?

My company has pioneered an Internet Marketing strategy, better labeled as a process known as Non Linear Internet Marketing or NLIM. NLIM is the process of delivering ever increasing, qualified traffic to a targeted website without the use of a Search Engine or Pay Per Click Advertising or Traditional Media.

We use the Internet to deliver traffic to the Internet. What has caused this to be so effective are four major shifts that have occurred in the marketing world. It is imperative for marketers to understand why their jobs are in danger or at least in danger of changing dramatically. Drive traffic to our website, is the order of the day.

Understanding why that is the order of the day comes from identifying and understanding the four fundamental shifts in marketing caused by the Internet.

SHIFT 1 From Advertising to Marketing

Marketing was the naturual evolution of a mediated nation. As media began to spread nationally with radio, television and print in the 1950s, the cost of selling goods took on national boundaries. This meant companies creating new products for sale had much higher associated costs of sales. Higher costs meant more risk. When risk increases, companies become more focused on what they are doing to make money. This focus caused corporations to employ research that told them what the American public wanted; before the product was manufactured. Once a need or desire was identified, the risk of creating a product that met the need was greatly reduced, especially if no other company was doing anything to meet the identified need.

Marketing became the order of the day. Companies who had Vice Presidents of Advertising suddenly had Vice Presidents of Marketing. After all, the number one job of management is to make things predictable according to Peter Drucker. As time evolved, all the major needs and desires of the American consumer were met. Identifying new markets became increasingly difficult. Marketing devolved into a misnomer. It became the process of coordinating sales and advertising and events and public relations. But, identifying opportunities and needs disappeared. There was nothing new under the sun, after all.

The other day, we discovered there were 130,000 searches a month for sausage pizza on the Internet and guess what? There were precious few companies competing for that traffic. A need was identified that no company was aggressively pursuing to fulfill. Our client is much the wiser now. So the circle is complete. The Internet allows us to identify pent up demands with varying degrees of competition. Find a need with relatively low competition for Internet visibility and then simply do the math of Non Linear Internet Marketing to determine how much effort is required to reach targeted sales goals.

SHIFT 2 Content to Connectivity

In the old, traditional media world, there were three television choices: ABC, NBC and CBS. On the weekends, there was one college football game, one pro football game and Heidi to choose from. Sometimes, Heidi even supplanted football. In that world, content is what attracted the eyeballs. This is no longer the case. Now, every website can sell advertising.

If it quacks like a duck, its a good chance its a duck. Every company with a website is now in the media business and every business needs qualified eyeballs. The problem is attracting those eyeballs. With 6 million additional pages indexed by the Search Engine world every day, the Internet will grow to unfathomable numbers. That means it will become harder, not easier to attract the eyeballs. To do so, content is less important. What counts is connectivity: how many places does your link show up and how many places on the Internet can people hear, see, read about you that will cause them to come to your site and eventually buy what you are selling.

Look at the shift to connectivity as a billboard advertising campaign for your city. Your city has roads and highways and intersections that have varying degrees of traffic. So does the Internet. If you could place a billboard at every intersection of your city, you would create a unavoidable awareness for your company. The Internet is no different except that you are dealing with millions of potential intersections and many of them are free and many more millions are waiting for you to create them.

Part of NLIM demands that you create your own intersections, but that is the subject of another article. This shift to connectivity can be seen in cultural phenomenas, like Myspace and Youtube. Content does not exist except for the purpose of connecting people through a common experience or a common set of beliefs.

SHIFT 3 Quality to Quantity

Spelling no longer matters. Spelling is the linchpin of the old world values which are based on the somewhat antiquated concept known as quality. What was the ubiquitous Ford slogan of the last 20 years? Quality is job 1? See where the Ford stock is lately?

In the traditional world of a few TV and radio stations, the standard of quality for what was sent out was very particular and strictly enforced. In the new world of Connectivity, the emphasis is on quantity. Why? Because its not even important whether or not your spelling is correct as long as the link is listed properly.

Email and text messaging will place things like LOL into Websters dictionary in the not too distant future. Why? Because we are able to communicate to more people more often which means we have to IM ASAP. If you dont know what I just said, you are over 35, which makes you an alien to this plan; literally.

Communication is defined in every Communications 101 class on every college campus as a message with a sender and a receiver. It was always assumed that quality was inherent in the message. No longer. Blogs are replacing traditional news sources such as NBC and the New York Times. And most of those blogs are filled with grammatical and spelling mistakes. No one cares. Ask a 20 year old if they read the newspaper and they laugh. Ask them if they watch TV while they are watching TV and they will look up at you from their computer which has 99 percent of their attention; while they are watching TV.

Multi tasking has taken root in all our communications because we are inundated with opportunities to connect to people and websites through our computers. The need for this shift is underscored when you consider the rapid expansion of the web.

SHIFT 4 From Demographics to Words

The most compelling shift in the marketing world involves the queen mother of all marketing icons: demographics. This is easy to understand. If you were responsible for marketing pools, which would you rather have, a TV commercial viewed by a woman 25 to 49, your target demo, or anyone, regardless of gender or age who clicks over to your website? Most products and services have targeted demographics but in reality, those products and services are experiencing great shifts in the targeted demographic anyway.

Take automobiles for example. Just 20 years ago, car dealers laughed at the idea of selling a car to a woman. Then, 10 years ago they laughed at selling cars over the Internet. When someone fills out a form of interest on the Internet, the car salesman doesnt care if its a woman or a man. Its a lead, period.

As our society has become more complex, as vanilla and chocolate has evolved right past 31 flavors to include whatever the imagination can create, as pepperoni pizzas have evolved to include pineapple and chicken, so has the concept of targeted demographics evolved.

In fact, if you look closely enough, those targeted demographics only exist in the traditional media. On the Internet, its about what words you want to own. Word ownership is not something you will hear much about unless you begin to explore the methodology of Non Linear Internet Marketing. All traffic moves on the Internet based on words. Those words take people from site to site. Those words are what the battle for Internet Visibility is all about.

What words do you want to own?

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