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The Magestic Splendor of Online Advertising! or some damn thing like that.

Online Advertising Panel Discussion

QUESTION: Can you build an online presence without resorting to offline advertising?

The Panelists:
Jill Ellsworth, Ph.D. - Senior Partner with Oak Ridge Research
Jim Huertas - President and CEO, Crytech

Dr. Ellsworth's response:
It's been done many thousands of times.

But why try?

Marketing anything -- an online presence included -- is likely to be most successful with a carefully planned, targeted campaign. You've obviously got to go to where your potential audience is now. If you think that your entire audience is online now, and that you can attract enough of them via the Internet, the Internet may be the most economical approach.

Certainly your audience will have to be online to make use of your online presence, but unlike some of us (and you know who you are), many people spend some of their day away from the Internet. In fact, many of those "on" the Internet are just barely there: They often know how to use just a few features of only one browser (including those on AOL who are often unaware of the difference between what is on AOL and what is on the Web as a whole). Many also have limited abilities to search for Internet sites of interest.

These casual Web surfers are prime targets for offline advertising. Collecting a URL and trying it out online is a pleasure for many of these people. Offer something worthwhile and your site's URL can make the leap from other media to use on the Web

Know your customer and go to them. There is no particular value in saying "I built my entire site with just visitors to Yahoo or to the Bronx Zoo."

Mr. Huertas' response:
When asked to respond to whether you can build an online presence without resorting to offline advertising, I have to say yes, but with conditions. The main reason is that if you are building an online presence your primary target audience is those already online. Therefore, online advertising will reach more potential viewers than offline advertising. The Internet is a great tool, but you have to have access to use it (or be used by it).

However, one must take into consideration that almighty secondary target audience. Your secondary target audience is the same as your primary in other advertising. Are they of a certain demographic or anyone with a brain? Are they local or national? This is where the conditions come into play. An example being that if you are wanting only geographically local viewers, then you might have no other choice but to market offline. Especially if your local market doesn't have opportunities for online advertising. All these considered, you wouldn't want to advertise your running shoes on an auto site no matter how many hits it gets.

To the contrary, only a percentage of those viewing your offline ads have access to your online presence. Thereby making the percentage of hits to views of your add much smaller than online advertising. And, we all know that the amount of work involved in reading, retaining and reacting to offline advertising tarnishes its allure.

Finally, I am equally as emphatic about having your URL on anything and everything that contains your company name or logo. So, that just might throw my entire opinion right out the window.

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