GroupM Hypes Online Marketing

11 May 2007

LONDON: GroupM, the umbrella entity housing WPP Group's media assets, this week published All Change: Marketing in Addressable Media, a glossy multipage brochure evangelizing the benefits of marketing in cyberspace.

According to the document, GroupM will this year, and for the first time, place over $2 billion (€1.48bn; £1.00bn) in online ads for its clients worldwide.

In half the thirty nations reviewed, close to 50% of their populations regularly use the internet. Stateside, some 65% of citizens trawl the web.

But the document expresses concern that the virtues of cybermedia are not fully appreciated by marketers, some of whom have ignored or underestimated the web. A client mindset that does little to boost GroupM's revenues.

So it's time for clients to "panic a little," concludes Rob Norman, GroupM Interaction's global ceo and a contributor to the document.

In a call to action reminiscent of Henry V's Agincourt speech, Norman declares: "We are absolutely certain that marketing must urgently harness interactive media and the behaviors it induces.

Inspired by Norman's theme, the document posits: "Consumers expect every brand or service to present itself in some kind of online environment, and expect this presence to be of use or interest and to furnish a substantial or involving experience."

That expectation lies at the heart of consumer engagement, the brochure argues, naming it as one of the four 'pillars' of effective online marketing.

The other three pillars?

Reach, reputation and transaction, says GroupM.

  • Reach
    This remains a prime communication objective. Brand advertisers in particular need digital media to replace audience they are losing in traditional media, and to add frequency against light TV viewing.

  • Reputation
    It is also vital that marketers monitor cyberspace to assess the reputation of their brands. "Good news travels fast and bad news travels faster," the study says. "Businesses need to 'listen to the conversation' and understand how to participate and respond."

  • Transaction
    Consumers also assume it is their right to purchase just about anything on their shopping list online - whether they do so or not. Even for brands rarely sold online, the channel is now a key part of the purchase funnel and therefore a process to be managed.
Concludes the document: "To a large degree, broadband technology's speed, ease of use and "always on" environment has created a new kind of "behavioral freedom" for consumers.

"Increasingly, broadband and the personal computer comprise the main consumer gateway to both entertainment and information. Marketers ignore it at their peril."

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff