Survey finds many marketers still lack digital knowledge

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De:  Marketing Daily

Friday, October 20, 2006

Marketers have had more than a decade to play with the Internet, but a new survey suggests they’re still in the dark about many aspects of digital advertising.

The survey of 200 Canadian marketers and 147 ad agency executives done in September and October found there’s “a lack of knowledge” about digital marketing, says Stephen Levy, president, Canadian market research Eastern Canada, at Ipsos Reid, which did the survey in conjunction with the Canadian Marketing Association and Marketing. Levy announced the results at the Digital Marketing Conference in Toronto yesterday.

In the area of search, the survey found that only 39% of marketers are familiar with paid search. Just 37% are familiar with organic search. “We were pretty surprised by these low numbers,” Levy told the audience, though he added that some marketers may not be familiar with search because it’s handled by their web developers.

While many speakers at the conference focused on the digital topic du jour–online social media–Ipsos Reid found only 14% of marketers are using social marketing often or always and just 17% use viral marketing. Just 6% use blogs and 7% use podcasts. “This is new stuff, so it’s not surprising that the numbers are relatively low,”Levy said.

In addition to their attitude toward different forms of digital, the survey asked marketers why they’re not spending more on the Internet:16% said it wouldn’t work for their target audience, 13% prefer other mediums, 13% have a lack of knowledge about digital, 12% said the medium’s effectiveness is unproven, and 11% don’t have the budget.

“We’re probably in a transitional phase where marketers don’t want to make a commitment yet,”Levy said.

Still, survey respondents expect digital advertising to soar by 70% in the next two years, followed by 25% for out of home. They expect radio spending will be flat, print spending will drop 21%, direct will fall 18%, and TV will be down 8%.

In a keynote address, Frank Trivieri, GM Canada’s general director marketing, said GM Canada has cut its broadcast media spend 20% over the past five years, pumping that money into its Internet ad budget, which has gone up 200% since 2000. “We’ve had some solid hits and even some home runs (with digital),” he said.

He cited, GM’s campaign to promote its compact Chevy vehicles like the Cobalt and Optra to youth and “change their perception about Chevrolet.” There have been more than 200,000 unique visits to the website and the average time spent is three and a half minutes. Trivieri didn’t explain whether that has resulted in a sales increase, but said 74% of respondents in a followup survey said the campaign had increased their likelihood of purchasing a GM car.

Trivieri also said GM Canada will launch a web portal at the end of November aimed at youth. Though he wouldn’t disclose details, he said it will feature characters within the portal and will be “a unique way of attracting young buyers in their world” that will also feature information on GM vehicles.

Rob Gerlsbeck