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DoubleClick Speakers: Net Belongs in the Mix

NEW YORK — The Internet is just one of the guys — really. And it's got a sense of humor, too.

With Internet advertising executives' late-90s swagger long gone, opening speakers at DoubleClick's Insight 2002 conference used humor and statistics yesterday to bludgeon home that marketing effectively requires integration, and that the Internet has earned a spot in that mix.

To open the event, DoubleClick poked fun at the hubris of Internet advertising's early proponents with movie satires starring CEO Kevin Ryan and other DoubleClick executives.

In the first spot, Ryan played a Pets.com sock-puppet-wielding James Bond villain gloatingly predicting Internet world domination.

In a second spot, Ryan played Marlon Brando's stuff-cheeked Godfather character, Don Vito Corleone, listening to a one-time Internet-only advertiser beg for a favor. And delivering a rallying cry in a third, Ryan played John Belushi's John “Bluto” Blutarsky character from Animal House giving the famous “Nothing is over until we decide it is!” speech.

Back on the podium, Ryan said, “The Internet was over-hyped, but the fundamentals are still there,” in opening remarks as he made a case for the Internet's place in an integrated marketing mix.

For example, he said, DoubleClick research has determined that 60 percent of consumers shop across channels. Of those, 45 percent reported browsing the Internet before buying at retail locations; 33 percent said they browse catalogs and then buy at retail locations; 21 percent reported browsing catalogs and then buying online; 8 percent said they browse online and then buy from catalogs; and17 percent said they browse retail stores and then buy online.

Following Ryan's opening remarks, David Kenny, chairman/CEO of New York direct marketing agency Digitas, continued the theme in his keynote, saying that integration also applies internally.

“Too many companies treat departments as separate entities,” he said, noting the chasm that often exists between, for example, sales and marketing. “Customers are strongly influenced by what they see on all channels,” Kenny said.

However, he said, companies shouldn't expect to get everything right the first time.

To find out what works, “test and learn,” Kenny said.

He put a different spin on direct marketing's often repeated 40/40/20 rule that says 40 percent of response is said to be determined by a campaign's list, 40 percent by the offer and 20 percent by creative.

According to Kenny, testing the “target” or list can give campaigns a ten-fold boost in response, testing the offer can deliver a five-fold increase and testing the creative message can double response.

Among Kenny's examples of the successful channel integration was cataloger L. L. Bean's addition of an e-mail-address-capture box on its home page. L.L. Bean has boosted catalog-open rates by sending customers e-mail alerting them to the books' imminent delivery and pointing out various products in them, he said.

“L.L. Bean is the single biggest converting retail site on the planet,” Kenny said.

Continuing the “Net-should-be-in-the-mix” theme was Susan Sachatello, DoubleClick's chief marketing officer, who offered the results of two studies recently performed by DoubleClick.

Fifty four percent of 700 marketers surveyed in the U.S., Europe and Asia said they were selling online, making it the second most common selling channel behind direct sales forces, which 59 percent of the marketers surveyed said their companies employed. Also, respondents said on average that e-commerce represents 12 percent of their revenue, according to DoubleClick, edging catalogs (9 percent) and telesales (7 percent). Seventy four percent of the marketers surveyed said they expected Internet revenue to grow this year.

When asked to name barriers to allocating more of their budgets to online marketing, 49 percent said the medium doesn't reach their target audience, 28 percent cited inconsistent reporting, 21 percent cited privacy issues, 13 percent said the medium is too expensive and 9 percent said it's too complicated.

Defending the Internet's reach capabilities, Sachatello said DoubleClick research determined that Yahoo search delivers more males ages 18 to 49 with household incomes of $75,000 or more than Monday Night Football. Also, MSN Hotmail delivers more18- to 49-year-old women with household incomes of $75,000 or more than the television show Friends, she said.

However, the medium still does not reach some groups — African Americans, for example — as effectively as other media.

Also, nothing beats magazines when it comes to reaching women overall, Sachatello said.

Meanwhile, she said that though a large percentage of marketers cited reporting as a barrier, 40 percent do not measure their e-mail efforts and 50 percent do not measure the results of their online advertising.

“If you are spending on these online mediums and you are not getting reporting, you should stop spending,” she said. “These tools exist and you can get the reporting you need.”

The Insight 2002 conference ends today.

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