creative integrated marketing

We are a creative integrated marketing consultancy specialising in 4 business areas: Business Services, Financial Services, Automotive Aftermarket and Recruitment Advertising. These blogs tell of some of our experiences working in these business areas.

14 August 2013

Why brand managers cannot avoid Google

When I first started my working life, we didn't have internet services for media planning and buying – or even an Internet. Later, as I recall, common advice was to allocate 5% of media spend to online activity. Today, I am resisting allocating above 50% for online activity.

This is symptomatic of the new commercial opportunities that online services provide in nearly every sector, from highend British fashion brands such as Asos, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Topshop to even replacement car tyres where online portals have made a significant impact on sales performance and EBITs for those OEM tyre manufacturers who embrace platforms such as Blackcircle.

Projected overseas online sales for British retailers of £28 billion by 2020

According to Google and OC&C the expected figure for overseas online sales for British retailers would reach £28 billion by 2020 with the biggest growth coming from Europe and Asia. Last year, online UK sales from outside Britain were £4 billion with online contributing around 14% of total sales.

Why the change and how is this growth possible? The answer is because there is a culture-shift to online through tablets and smartphones which is largely unstoppable and puts huge purchasing power in the hands of billions of customers. And it isn't just about ”reach”, it's also about customer experience and being in front of your customers with just the right level of information when they are close to, or at, the point of purchase. It's also possible because of the strength of brands.

Two questions then come to mind:

  • 1. Does full utilisation of the online revolution require a strong, reliable and well-differentiated brand in the first place? Answer: absolutely. You can’t expect to harness online consumers effectively without first investing appropriately in a brand, traditional marketing, effective differentiation and careful sales and brand management. So online isn't the “quick win” ticket to short-cut brand investment.
  • 2. Where do I invest online? We call this ‘media investment management' and it is an integral part of our business and consultative client advice. Whilst we frequently prepare media audits to examine and benchmark spend by channel, CPT and so-on, you cannot escape the sheer dominance in terms of reach and effectiveness of Google. However, be prepared to do your key word research by geography and language to maximise ROI, think about the viewer experience and how you want to harness awareness and track leads.
  • 20 years ago, we were writing and producing 30-second TV ads. A well-known and wise ad man recently said the challenge going forward will be to compress your message into five seconds. So our job, as ad people and brand guardians, is to secure awareness and drive relevant traffic to clients' landing pages and call to action (CTA) web pages. Have we then done our job? Answer: no. As integrated creative marketing people we've only just started, with Google acting as the postman.

Chris Abraham is CEO and head of media investment at

AEP Advertising We are a b2b and b2c agency providing integrated branding, strategic and lead generation marketing communications. We have deep specialist knowledge in the business services, financial services, automotive and recruitment advertising sectors spanning over 40 years.

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