Those were the days

Earlier this week I heard on Marketplace that the banner ad started 15 years ago.  On October 27, 1994 the web site posted banner ads for Volvo, MCI, Club Med and 1-800-Collect. The click rate was 78%!   Those were the days.

In 2007, BusinessWeek reported that the average click rate on a banner ad was 0.2% according to Eyeblaster , a New York-based online ad firm.  According to Advertising Age, the click rate for display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years.

Where have all the consumers gone?

One of my clients is focused heavily on e-mailing his customers.  However, it is only part of the equation.  Consumers are increasingly online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Yes, they are still checking e-mails but they are also on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. 

It used to be that the question was direct mail or e-mail?  Now the question is not what channel to use but rather which channels to leverage.  The direct marketing strategy needs to consider traditional direct channels, such as e-mail and direct mail, as well as social networking sites.  The need for integration of branding and messaging has become even more important as consumers have a multitude of ways to learn about your company and its products and services. 

The other challenge with the plethora of channels that have evolved is that consumers are bombarded with information.  Some are abandoning their e-mail accounts because they are overwhelmed by their inboxes.  Others ignore their inboxes in favor of communication channels they control.  I don’t bother sending my sister e-mails anymore because they disappear into the black hole that is her inbox.  However, she will respond instantaneously to a text message and will e-mail me on occasion, when it is the best channel for her to communicate with me.   

As marketers, we need to go where our customers are and offer them relevant and honest information.