Early adoption of any new medium has a clear and distinct advantage for marketing. History has shown that over and over again. The first television advertisers had the advantage as being seen as innovators, and more importantly were able reach audiences efficiently. A little closer to home, those first online advertisers in the mid 1990′s enjoyed a huge amount of benefit from participating in the digital marketplace first.
True example: The first organization I got to partner/advertise with Yahoo in 1996, was this tiny little upstart called Hotels.com, and I started a relationship with Robert Diener, co-founder of the company. At the time there was only a handful of advertisers running with Yahoo. We agreed to terms and pricing (which were very favorable) and the signed Insertion Order came back from Bob. I called him and asked him for creative, and said to me, “Scott, we don’t have any creative, would you make some for me?” Not knowing exactly what to say, (and realizing that this was going to become a theme for the next few years) I answered “Sure.”
What I produced was nothing short of ugly and unsophisticated by today’s standards. I made three banners that were 468×60 pixels, flat images, with a gradient fill in the background, and the text simply read, “For a cheap hotel room, click here” We put the banners up live that very day, and you know what happened?
Those ugly and unsophisticated banners got a 22% click thru rate (that is not a miss print, 2.2% not .2% or .022%) Those numbers over time dropped, as users became more sophisticated, and as Bob’s Hotel.com competitors entered the space trying to emulate his success. But for a little more than a year, Hotel.com owned the marketplace. His competitors never got the same level of efficiency that Bob got for various reasons.
The lesson: early adopters of new mediums for marketing will get efficiencies. That is why your company, and your brands should be exploring Social Media, it may have caught on with the people, (a billion+ people are using social media now) but most marketers have not yet figured it out. If you wait until everyone else does, you may be playing it safe, but your not going to be able to catch these effciencies.
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