Time to merge online, offline efforts

Traditional marketing is being challenged by media changes, including broadcast, print, and the Internet.

Traditional marketing is being challenged by media changes, including broadcast, print, and the Internet.

The efficacy of the Internet provides good reason for companies to re-evaluate their marketing efforts and integrate online and offline activities. Tying the two together leads to better visibility, measurement, and results.

The first thing to realize is that traditional marketing can build online presence and visibility.

BMW's TV ads, for example, are beautifully experiential. Emotionally charged, the purchaser is primed to visit BMW's Web site to "drill down" for information and be prompted to share e-mail addresses to continue the sales cycle.

We can track those who go directly from TV to the Web. When a brand is advertised on TV, Google Trends shows the spike in search traffic. The direct correlation is astonishing.

One model that didn't exist five years ago is "TV to search." While consumers go from TV directly to an advertiser's Web site, they also go to search engines with the snippet they recalled from the ad. Try a Google Trend search on "Office Linebacker," the now famed Super Bowl ad: Search engines all saw a material spike in traffic, thanks to television media consumption.

Savvy advertisers have been promoting URLs in hopes of developing loyal customers, but there also are ancillary benefits. Consider the importance Google, Yahoo, and MSN bestow upon editorial placements in traditional media outlets. Search engines consider these to be highly credible; therefore, such placements can bolster your online rankings and presence.

The Web also supports traditional marketing and measurability.

The Internet can also gauge a campaign's impact or media placements. In doing so, companies are able to understand which publications, Internet news sources, or broadcast outlets generate the best results. PR firms can create dedicated URLs with landing pages to streamline inquiries and capture as many leads as possible.

They can also measure the number of people searching online for a company or brand name, demonstrating fluctuations in awareness. In addition, conventional news releases can be used in non-conventional ways to bolster online awareness and search engine optimization by utilizing sites like PRWeb.com and PR.com.

You can also gauge the impact a news story has on the IR pages of a client's Web site, noting the difference between companies that were prepared and those that were not. It's difficult to say a handsome Web site can directly improve stock price, but at the least it has the value of an expensive annual report. Our clients have been able to fold traffic spikes from PR hits into wildly profitable sales days.

There is also sizeable value from the third-party endorsements editorial coverage can bring. An article on a certain company or product in The New York Times and NYTimes.com will be found by search engine "spiders" and can increase a site's visibility and rank.

Yes, it's a new dawn for marketers with a host of new technologies to consider and merge with proven entities. To survive and thrive, you must be able to merge the two.

Michael Ferranti is CEO of Endai Worldwide, an Internet marketing and SEO firm in New York. Chris Rosica is CEO of Rosica Strategic Public Relations in Paramus, NJ.

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