Will online take over the offline world?

Since a couple of months now we are travelling the world in search off the online trends of today. I wanted to share my thoughts with you on how I see evolve direct marketing all over the world. We’ve been to Miami, Hannover, Birmingham, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Different places and different trends.

As president of the Belgian email marketing taskforce it is a true mission to me to figure out what online communication is all about and to spot new opportunities. I often ask myself the question. Do the advertisers have a clear view of this online world? Or are they still stuck in the standard mono-media communication of 20 years ago? We should all understand that the internet is omnipresent, and that a balanced media mix is essential to create real added value.

Web 2.0 vs traditional media.

Television and radio … sure, but what with 2.0? Are brands armed to the REAL opinion of the consumer? Are they able to anticipate them and turn them into creative enriching concepts? What with the customer lifecycle? Relevance is king and interactivity and anticipation are crucial. Sometimes I wonder if traditional media are up to the task.

The perception on this subject is very important I think. When I open my mail I notice that I’m getting tons of spam, but nobody cares. We just put it with the old paper collect. It’s obvious that again it is the same thing. Relevance and respect for the customer.

Traditional and new media go hand in hand, certainly when well used. Understanding the needs of the consumer, analysing them and answering to it is more and more a necessity. So use interactive communication to trace interest (measurements are more accurate and easy to implement in online media) and use these knowledge to create the perfect online/offline mix. Your client will thank you for it!

Combine offline and online

Since a couple of months now we are testing such combined online-offline campaigns with Becel (a Unilever brand)… and with success. Even a common good like margarine is able to live its life on the internet. With an open communication to the end-user. His opinion counts and motivates others to express there own. The brand is central and alive.

Should this be possible via radio or TV alone? Or is the internet the magical highway to a dialogue?

My message is clear, open the dialogue and stop shouting how good you are. The formula is simple, make it possible to share knowledge across online and offline platforms. Use those CRM data, monitor the quality of your databases and the impact of your campaigns. Metrics are not alone nice graphics, you should also use it.

Are we all ready for it?

Is technology ready for it? Are we able to do what we preach?
Personally I think it’s possible. Web-to-print, email, CRM, online surveys, mobile, streaming, … everything has the same principles.
Communicate, learn, anticipate and bring the right message through the right channel on the right moment.

Difficult you say? Sure, but not with the proper tools. Normaly all this info is saved in databases and interaction is therefore perfectly possible.
Webservices are there for a while now and they can combine al this information.

In short, the US works on personalisation, Germany on relevance, the UK is database driven, France is doing mass marketing and Belgium is trying to solve diversity and the Netherlands are concerned about metrics. What is your next step and are we ready to integrate all those elements? Please enter the dialogue.

Kenny Van Beeck


  1. Posted April 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Great post and useful information provided. Publishing industry also following these new mediums to circulate their publication to increase their readership rate. In these days, online readers are increased rapidly and looking for e-editions of all print publications. Publishers are taking the companies help like http://www.pressmart.net to publish over these new technology mediums.

  2. Posted April 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    great post,
    i think the best performing businesses will be those who incorporate ALL of the online disciplines – personalization, metrics, database etc. easy enough to say but harder to execute!

    on and offline marketing i believe work best when conducted in tandem but of course this would all depends on the business vertical. be interesting to know what other think.

  3. Posted April 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I would add that different sector players are on different level. Eg. IT companies and let’s say some of the banks are using very mature webanalytic softwares. But it also depends on the target audience. If you target teens or YAs you definetely cannot ignore internet from marketing mix.

    So I guess it is difficult to talk in general about the topic. But I can agree with you that due to the convergence of the assets, online and offline mix will create the customer experience. And your task is to manage it.

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