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Antidote to the Squandered Marketing Budget

IDC's yearly consumer survey of Nordic attitudes and purchases of consumer electronics (CE) goods reveals that online marketing has not only gained momentum, it has long surpassed traditional advertising effectiveness.

It's fast gaining on in-store shopping as the preferred source of information for the family's new flat screen TV, gaming device, or personal computer. When searching for a new CE device, less than 25 percent of the families read any of the pile of print ads that swamps consumers on weekends, whereas more than 70 percent of the Nordic homes visit both the Internet and physical stores for inspiration.

Editorials such as product tests and evaluations are an important source for information and advice, together with one's closest family influencer. At any phase throughout the decision and buying process, printed advertisements are regarded as the least important source.

Traditional products such as printers, digital cameras, and portable PC's will continue to be top sellers over the coming six months, together with large flat screen TV's and anything that starts with HD (high definition), which will be at the top of consumer wish lists for Christmas.

In the core markets, advertising companies and media houses again seem to be on the wrong foot, according to IDC's assessment. Less than 20 percent of consumer electronic decision makers and buyers are under 24 years old whereas the vast majority of buyers -- women and men -- are found in the 25 to 54 age group.

This is contrary to the impression one often gets from reading ads or watching TV commercials for digital devices of any kind. I believe that while this IDC market study may include a European bias, it's likely to reflect the market dynamics of all other developed regions.

The amount of wasted effort that goes into print adverting campaigns is fueled by traditional ad agencies -- and their out-of-touch marketer clients -- who choose to stay in their comfort zone, regardless of the mounting evidence that conventional wisdom has proven to deliver a pitiful ROI.

That said, forward-looking marketers will continue to have a competitive advantage -- for as long as their rivals are stuck in the bygone era of mass-market thinking. However, the window of opportunity could close quickly, once web analytics data is routinely reviewed by CFOs and their staff.

Many legacy CMOs have historically squandered their marketing budgets due to the prior lack of meaningful advertising metrics and associated reporting methodologies. The ongoing trend of increased online promotion will continue the shift towards improved marketing accountability and performance-based ad budget assignment.

Clearly, we already have the antidote to the poisoned business processes.

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