Continuing with my comparison of the early days of television advertising and today’s online advertising environment , I wanted to drill down a little more on the client / agency relationship.

As an online marketing company, we should not be surprised when we speak to companies that have not embraced internet marketing or email marketing.  Many companies have used traditional marketing to launch and grow their business.  In some cases, companies have been using broadcast, print and direct mail for 30 to 40 years.  Many of these companies have had great success with traditional marketing tactics.

Just last week, I was speaking to an 8-figure retailer who has recently started an internal conversation about the benefits of collecting email addresses and marketing to existing customers and visitors to their showroom through email.  To say the least, I was a little surprised that this thought had just bubbled up in 2009 in a very successful organization.  Through additional conversation, I came to realize that this company had looked at, considered and ultimately decided against working with an online marketing company.  I asked the next logical question: Why?

The conversation that ensued was eye opening.

Don’t Fix What’s Not Broken!
The bustling economy of the last 8 years had management doing everything they could just to keep up with operational issues, customer service issues and ensuring that over all quality was kept high.  The last thing that the management team could focus on was a new direction in marketing and advertising.

We Don’t Understand The Online Marketer’s Language
eCPM, CPC, CPA, SEO, SEM, etc. etc. etc. was a language that this company just didn’t understand.  This company spends a few million dollars a year in advertising, but they were never going to consider shifting those dollars into a medium where they couldn’t even speak the language.

As an internet marketing company, it is important to remember that companies are not interested in our technical jargon, they are interested in leveraging this medium to produce a result or solve a business problem.  It is incumbent upon the internet marketing company to help the client understand the how, what, when and where of what we do in a way that is digestible on the client’s terms.  The downturn in the economy will drive many traditional advertisers to consider and/or expand their marketing efforts into online and email marketing.

As an online marketing company, we should be facilitators for these companies, providing education and implementation of smart, objective focused marketing tactics.

I have spoken to a number of advertising agency executives that have been in the business since the 1950s and their experiences then are similar to our experiences now.  They only real difference is that they were talking about television and we are talking about the internet.