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Use the Internet, It’s 2009

Sometimes its good to be taken back a few steps and being reminded of the world that is inhabited by “normal” Internet users. Working professionally everyday with the Internet as a sales and marketing channel, easily makes you loose the perspective of those people. The people that are the end receivers of our clients messages and products.

Luckily though, an article in The Mail on Sunday on the 15th of February reminded me of the Internet reality that actually reigns out there outside of our office walls. Entitled “Millions lost by firms who ignore the net”, the article reveals that six out of ten British companies do not use the Internet to sell their products, even though they are quite happy to use the Internet to buy goods and services for their organizations. A survey on small businesses (up to 50 people) showed that four out of five use their website to showcase their goods rather than sell it. Even more surprising, 67 percent believed that they would not find customers online if they were to try. Considering the fact that 20 billion pounds was spent online during 2008, it feels safe to assume that they are wrong and that they are loosing out on considerable earnings by not incorporating the Internet as a serious marketing and sales channel.Our experience, among clients and partners that sell their product online as well as in physical stores, is that an online store usually outperforms physical ones in terms of turnover, distribution and sales volume per store. Likewise, our clients experience that active Internet marketing (rather than passive showcasing of products) such as SEO and online PR, more effectively generates substantially higher (and fully measurable) ROI, visibility and brand attention compared to marketing in traditional medias.

In the article in The Mail on Sunday, Phil McCabe of the UK forum of Private Business conforms this by emphasizing the need for businesses to become more cost effective in the current financial situation. Saying that the Internet is often a simpler and more cost effective way of boosting business.

For a web marketer the reporting in the article are stunning. Twice I had to check the date of the paper in my hand. Does it say the 15:th of February 2005? No, it is 2009. If it wasn’t for the mentioning of the financial crisis and the Obama article in the same issue, I would probably have taken it for a printing error.

From this, I can only conclude that we in the Internet marketing industry are still facing a huge communication challenge concerning what we do and how we can help virtually any company achieve higher ROI on their marketing budget. It is essential that we work to distance ourselves from the “tech geek” image and present ourselves and our knowledge to marketing decision makers as the choice of the future.

More on how we achive this in future postings.