Ad, marketing execs see Net as sales driver

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A survey to be released this week shows that in the long term, the Internet will be used primarily to drive sales, not to increase company and brand awareness.

The online study of 400 decisionmakers, conducted earlier this month by People Design Technology, a Dallas consultancy, found that of the roughly 150 advertising and marketing executives surveyed, 30% currently view the Internet as a tool to increase awareness, while 24% see it as a way to increase revenue and sales.

But in the long term, which was not defined, 44% of advertising and marketing executives said the goal of Internet/extranet/intranet efforts would be to increase revenue and sales, while only 7% said the goal would be to increase awareness.

Intranets are secure Internet-based networks used internally; extranets are private networks that are extended to company partners, such as suppliers and customers.


"There is a shift from the early stages of experimentation and presence to a fairly rigorous evaluation of the investment [in interactive]," said Lee Wright, founding principal of People Design Technology.

Also responding to the same question, only 4% of the marketing and ad executives surveyed said their goal today for the Internet, intranets and extranets is to increase market share, which jumps to 12% in the long term; 5% said it is to establish new channels, jumping to 14% in the long term.

Also among the findings, 89% of advertising and marketing managers said design skills and a company's reputation are very important or important criteria in selecting an interactive services company, while 86% said project management and technology skills are very important or important.

This study defines interactive services companies as interactive agencies, interactive divisions of traditional agencies, systems integrators, design companies and other businesses that create and place online media.


Responding to the same question, 84% of advertising and marketing managers said favorable pricing is very important or important, while only 34% said having an existing relationship with an interactive services company is very important or important to the selection process.

In another survey finding, 83% of respondents said their company has no formal process for selecting an interactive services company; 35% have terminated such a contract prior to completion.

Another 53% of ad and marketing managers said they are very satisfied or satisfied with interactive services provided by external resources; the same percentage cited internal interactive services.

Ten percent of executives surveyed represent businesses with more than $5 billion in annual sales; 29% represent companies with between $250 million and $5 billion in sales; and 60% represent businesses with less than $250 million in sales.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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