I had a number of conversations this week with prospective clients that lead me to believe that the majority of small to mid-sized enterprises ($20 million to $1 billion in revenue) continue to be confused about internet marketing and email marketing.  It made me think: “When other major forms of media were introduced to the public, what was the adoption rate with advertisers?”  Television would probably be the most recent and comparable example.

If nothing else, a cursory comparison is interesting and thought provoking.  In 1941 Bulova Watches spent $9 to buy time on the first advertising spot offered by NBC’s New York station.  In today’s dollars, that about $1,000.  Who wouldn’t take that deal today!  Word spread quickly that television was a viable and profitable advertising medium and by 1960, TV had become the chief medium of national advertising earning $1.5 billion in revenue.  By 1980, TV ad revenue hit $11 billion.  By 1994, TV was producing $34 billion in revenue and by the end of 2007, TV ad revenue was $70 billion dollars.

For perspective, in 2001, internet advertising revenue was $7.2 billion.  In 2005, internet advertising revenue was $12.5 billion and in 2007, revenue was $21.2 billion.  This growth trajectory is much faster than TV and is good news for internet marketing companies.

Time is on our side when it comes to internet marketing and email marketing conversations.  As time passes, internet and email marketing conversations will be less about education and more about implementation.  I tend to believe that the evolution of the agency/client relationship as it relates to TV in the 1960s is similar to the agency/client relationships of this decade regarding internet and email marketing.

In addition to time, technology is on our side as well.  Analytics, segmentation, consumer behavior and tracking are all tools that allow for the internet and email conversation to be accelerated.  Once clients understand the power of analytics, they tend to be willing to test marketing ideas and concepts online.  Once they see the results and understand that smart internet marketing companies can engineer the outcome of marketing campaigns, clients are typically willing to jump into the internet and email marketing waters.