Guest Blog – Josh Turner “Marketing Academy NetNames presentation”
The Internet’s growth has created such a significant opportunity for brands to grow engage and cross boundaries like never before. However, such vast opportunities also bring with them great risks to brands. The NetNames presentation put on by Marketing Academy touched on many aspects about Internet and its impact on business today. Which reminded me about being back at university and writing a dissertation about ‘The role social media plays with regards Retail Banking’, how traditional marketing has changed from the 4ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) to the 4cs (Communication, Convenience, Cost & Consumer). Marketing is no longer just word of mouth, but now ‘world of mouth’, as its said consumers will tell 9/10 people about negative experience, and only 1/10 about positive brand experiences, consider this now magnified through social media. Brands need to consider reputation management just as much as they see the Internet as a tool for engagement, again back to the balance between opportunities & risk the Internet gives.
The concept of ‘showrooming’ was discussed, a trend where consumers are “shopping in store, but saving online’. This is hard for brands to avoid with wifi and Internet readily available and smartphone sales rocketing in recent years. It was said that geotagging discounts is the only solution retail stores can do to combat this. Furthermore, as if it wasn’t bad enough for high street retailers, Amazon plans to open physical stores there now, still driving traffic back to there site as well. It its forecast that 21% of retail sales will be made online by 2018, also reported that 93% of shopping decisions are influenced by social media its time to get really serious about the internet, no matter what industry you are in!
The talk briefly touched on the new opportunities that top level domains offer to brands, a necessary shift the internet needed in such a crowded space with over 280 million domains currently out there in 29 years. Some examples include the location ones like ‘.london .lasvegas’ , through to industry ‘.plummer’. Brands need to consider which ones they can utlise best, especially as its reported that Google’s algorithm has changed to accommodate this shift, for example “Lloydsof.london”, Google understands as Lloyds of London in its search results. It’s to early to comment on the impact this development will have going forward, but as also risks to brands come along as well, if domains for example ‘Starbucks.sucks’ or ‘BP.disaster’ , are brought up by activist, brands have no control over content, just expensive / public trademark court battles!
Finally the talk was about the main risks to brands online around fake fraudulent websites replicating real ones for examples with hotels or airlines. The greatest risk to especially product based brands is the replica market, e.g. with Mulberry handbags or Apple replica chargers. The Internet opens up the world in a good way, but also allows these activities to flourish with not a lot brands can do to prevent it. Consumers are naturally programmed for discounts and bargains and with the Internet offering such comparisons and easy ability to shop around, brands are reportedly losing billions. It’s pointed out that 32% of paid search words around designer goods take consumers to fake products.
Overall, its safe to say the benefits that the Internet has brought to brands outweigh the risks thus far, and I see this trend continuing. Therefore, brands need to firstly be present online, which is more than just a website, conversations will happen about them on social media whether they are there or not, so they should be proactive and join the conversation. Secondly, brands need to stay protected, understand the risks that online bring to their business, make sure they actively manage their reputation and communicate their brand values. Finally they should become prosperous online, improve their ROI, efficiency and KPIs, its one thing being at the party, its another getting involved and measuring results. With that said, NetNames report that 96% of companies admit “guarding online assets is essential for success”; yet only 40% have a strategy in place to do it!
NEF Class of 2014