The New Power Of Advertising

A website is an island. Advertising is a bridge to that island.
Large and small businesses online are discovering that truth in
a hurry – or else. Advertising is not what it used to be. The
internet has changed its purpose and its strength. Rather than
making advertising in the traditional media weaker, the net has
made it stronger. That’s why all guerrillas must be aware of the
new power of advertising.

The first thing to know, and this should come as good news, is
that advertising no longer has to make the sale.

Not very long ago, advertising’s main goal was to make the sale,
though there are many other goals. But that has changed
dramatically with the growth of dotcom companies all over the
internet. Today, the goal of much advertising is not to make the
sale but to direct people to websites.

That does not diminish the power of advertising. Instead, it
increases it. With many, if not most, guerrilla-run companies
establishing webturf, advertising’s newest function is to
motivate people to visit a website where they can get far more
information than can be delivered by standard media advertising.

Advertising has become the first step in a permission marketing
campaign. It invites dialogue and interactivity with prospects
and customers by directing people to websites, by offering free
brochures, by generating the kind of action that leads to
permission to receive marketing messages. Once people grant that
permission, which they do at a website or by simply calling to
request a brochure — printed or electronic — that’s when
serious guerrilla marketing attempts to close the sale.

That means the prime obligation of advertising is to motivate an
easy-to-take-action. This should come as good news because it
places less of an onus on advertising than ever before.
Motivating the action of getting person to click to your website
is a whole lot simpler than motivating a person to part with his
or her hard-earned money and risk spending it the wrong way.

Not only is it easier to motivate action, but that action is
becoming even easier as being online is now endemic. Over 100
million people are now online, though America Online’s chief,
Steve Case, pegs the number as being closer to 200 million.

It’s not always a whole lot of fun to visit your store or order
from your toll-free number, but it is fairly enjoyable to click
over to a website and take a gander at what is being offered and
how you can benefit. There is a risk when somebody responds to
advertising with an order. There is no risk at all if they check
your website. Advertising seems to grease the skids to the sale.
It takes far less time to learn about you online than to cruise
around a mall or drive to a location further away than their

That means advertising can be short, concise, to the point. It
no longer has to curry the favor of prospects with long copy,
involved graphics or detailed explanations. The internet can do
that for you, allowing you to save on advertising costs.
Advertising your website works in all the media — from TV to
radio, from magazines to newspaper, from direct mail to
billboards. It doesn’t take a lot of time or verbiage to get
them to spend a few moments checking how your website can
improve their lives.

As all guerrillas know, the name of the game in marketing is
creating relationships. It’s tough to accomplish this with an
ad. It’s pretty easy with a website, which initiates dialogue by
inviting it, by making it as easy as clicking a mouse.

Advertising has always been a method designed to change human
behavior by getting people to purchase your product or service.
The internet has changed that. Now, advertising merely has to
deflect human behavior, to divert curiosity from an ad or
commercial to a website.

There is little question that the online fire burns brightly.
There is no question that advertising fuels the online flame.

During the telecast of Super Bowl played in l999, I was fairly
amazed to see four commercials for dotcom companies. Today, I am
even more amazed when I watch a sporting event telecast that
does not have a whole gaggle of dotcom commercials.

The big and the small players online are learning from hard
experience that they are invisible when they are online. Sure,
their site might come up from a search engine or a link from a
cooperating company, but the majority of people get their
information offline — and that’s where guerrillas marketing
their sites. Offline and regularly.

It’s true that standard media advertising is interruption
marketing, interrupting people in their perusing of the
newspaper or magazine, in their viewing of a TV show or
listening to the radio. Interruption marketing is crucial,
however, as the first step in gaining permission from people to
receive your marketing materials. And it is equally crucial in
luring them to your website.

The top five products that internet users actually prefer to buy
online differ from men to women. The top five to men are
computer software, computer hardware, pornography, books and
music. The top five to women are computer software, greeting
cards, music, books and computer hardware. As Adweek magazine
says, women are from Hallmark; men are from Bob’s Digital House
of Porn.

Many so-called experts believe that the growth of the internet
signals the demise of advertising. This particular expert
believes just the opposite. Advertising now can loom as
important as ever, as necessary as ever, and more mandatory for
a proper marketing mix than at any time in history.

The larger the internet grows, the more important the role of
advertising and the greater its power. Advertisers must no
longer have to move a person from total apathy to purchase
readiness with their advertising. Now, all they have to do is
move a person from total apathy to mild curiosity. From that
point, moving that person to purchase readiness is the job of
the website.

Jay Conrad Levinson is probably the most respected marketer in
the world. He is the inventor of “Guerrilla Marketing” and is
responsible for some of the most outrageous marketing campaigns
in history — including the “Marlboro Man” — the most
successful ad campaign in history. In his latest book, “Put
Your Internet Marketing on Steroids” Jay reveals how you can
use marketing steroids legally to make your business insanely

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