16/07/2008 - 22:00

Working to fill online marketing void

16/07/2008 - 22:00

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Local agencies are starting to tap into the rapid global expansion of online and digital marketing.

Working to fill online marketing void

Local agencies are starting to tap into the rapid global expansion of online and digital marketing.

Recently returned from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Meerkats creative director Mike Edmonds and brand planner Ronnie Duncan said 'branding utility' and 'consumer integration' were being re-defined as the industry focused on the current number one marketing frontier - the internet.

Among the global examples was South Korea, where mobile phones have become the latest media canvas, while an innovative campaign in New York features pay TV service HBO fusing the virtual with the tangible.

"Unique projects like HBOVoyeur.com have transformed the traditional brand campaign, turning customers into trademark fans," Mr Duncan said.

But increased digital marketing doesn't have to mean inboxes filled with junk.

"The clever brands recognise what the customer wants, and what they want is entertainment," Mr Duncan said.

"The age of attack is over; selling today is about the seduction, not the shove, and serving the customer who, as we all know, 'is always in control'."

This means reaching out to the customer where they are. And chances are, they are on Facebook.

One of the emerging leaders in the digital marketing field is Carlo Berluzzi, chief executive of Longtail Media.

In a joint venture with The Brand Agency, the company has been working to fill the void in the state's online marketing space.

"Technology can interact with customers via SMS and email, perform instant demographic profiling using online information pools, and offer them a richness of content a flat page cannot achieve," Mr Berluzzi said.

"It can even pick appropriate adverts based on the section of a page your cursor's been hovering over. If it happens to be 'sport', get ready to meet Nike."

Though the thinking is advanced, the technology is simple.

"None of this is beyond our scope. The issue is of attitude, not ability," Mr Berluzzi said.

Mr Duncan agrees, saying the distances themselves may be supportive of a more intelligent approach.

"Agencies are realising customers are much more likely to read a text than pass a billboard," he said.

Aside from private companies, Longtail cites the education, tourism and government sectors among its clients.

The Brand Agency managing director Steve Harris believes a lot of the best opportunities to market are digital.

"Longtail has moved from zero to nine people in 10 months, and that tells you a story. The only thing holding the business back is lack of people," Mr Harris told WA Business News.

Meanwhile, 303 Advertising Perth managing director Alan Taylor said an integrative approach was key.

He believes online is just another channel of communication to reach a consumer.

"Ultimately, digital marketing is only part of the overall offering of a brand.

''In my view, there ought to be less divide between the traditional branding methods and the new," he said.

"Certainly, it is important for everyone to be literate in digital areas, which are the future."

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