Marketers not properly harnessing Net as ad medium: study

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Advertisers are savvy about the Internet as a marketing tool, but many fail to properly use the medium as an effective advertising vehicle.

That finding, from media services firm GroupM's Interaction study, implied that marketers should consider the benefits as well as the costs of using the Internet.

"Our advice is to panic a little," Rob Norman, global CEO of GroupM Interaction, said in a statement. "Online is already a mainstream component of consumer behavior and media consumption. The fundamental purpose of communication strategy remains unchanged, but marketing must urgently harness interactive media and the behaviors it induces."

The study from the WPP Group PLC-owned agency pulled consumer and advertiser Internet data from 28 countries. It said that while interactive media is different around the world, advertisers can chart an online advertising by following four recommendations.

First is reach. Brand advertisers need interactive media to replace audiences they are losing in traditional media. These advertisers need multi-platform strategies to use all channels.

Next is engagement. Consumers want to see their brand or service online. So consistency and personalization are a must to engage consumers with the brand online on their own terms.

Reputation is the third. Brands and businesses must listen to the conversation online to be able to respond, GroupM said. A general quickening of product lifecycles and of the consumers' increasing urge to pass judgment is something to keep in mind.

Finally, there is the transaction component. The Internet is both a marketing channel and a medium for marketing. Brands that are rarely sold online are also expected to have a firm presence in that medium since the Internet has become a key part of the purchase funnel.

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