Litchfield: Yes, there is much interest. As we see more of the marketing dollar shift towards the digital medium, we see more interest from clients seeking to differentiate. With this comes a willingness to explore Web 2.0 and the respective richer and social media offerings. The return on investment may not always be as immediate, but when measured over time we are seeing definite gains in brand awareness and brand credibility. The Web 2.0 platform is no longer the exclusive domain of consumer brands. When executed correctly, b-to-b brands have just as much to gain—particularly when using vehicles such as blogs, video and community building—to offer specific knowledge and shared industry points of view.
How are you measuring the results of these new media?
Litchfield: Measurement methodology varies by media type, by technology and by campaign strategy. One thing is for sure—it's not just about the click-through. To achieve accurate measurement, you need to consider the point of interaction (for instance, via promotional banner, search, track-backs or other community links), the duration of the interaction, the contribution made (if any), return visits (and frequency) and introductions made (via link forwarding). This can be complex to track and often requires multiple analytical passes across multiple data sources. However, even with all this data, the full story is not told. When your customer, or potential customer, is engaging with your brand at this level, what other impacts are occurring? If the experience is positive, it's likely that you're moving the customer closer to brand loyalty.
How are agencies adapting to changing technologies and client needs?
Litchfield: Agencies developing integrated marketing solutions that incorporate interactive or digital media should be constantly monitoring what's new online, with a focus on Web 2.0 in particular. As agencies observe new applications, emerging trends and shifts in practice, their responsibility is to then educate their clients and to incorporate those new tactics into larger, more strategic integrated campaigns. Agencies doing this will likely find that their interactive marketing offering will quickly become the fastest-growing competency within their organization. Change? Yes, definitely.