John Nardone

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"There just continues to be wave after wave of new ideas and innovations."

John Nardone

Advertising age, 07/14/97 qwikfind aaa17u


John nardone began working at Norwalk, Conn.-based i-shop Modem Media seven years ago, which is equal to at least 28 years in Internet time. That's long enough to have witnessed the first commercial Web site, the first banner ad and the beginning of e-mail marketing. His first assignment was Modem's online effort for Coors Brewing Co.'s Zima, one of the first packaged-goods products to have its own site.

Mr. Nardone, 37, now managing director-practice lead of marketing programs, can quickly name three mistakes that the industry made: the "tremendous amount of easy money from the venture capital community"; a lack of accountability on the part of sites, developers and agencies; and a "huge overemphasis of technology investment vs. marketing."

The flood of start-up cash allowed for a crucial shortcoming in terms of new ideas. "The outcry against the banner ad didn't gain momentum or groundswell support until the money went away," he says. Further, he believes, the "very, very bad advice" from some e-consultants gave the industry a lingering credibility problem. "[Clients think] `I spent a ton of money, I didn't get anything for it, therefore the medium is bad'-not `My strategy was flawed or my execution was terrible."'

But some good things have come out of this generally bad year. Mr. Nardone notes that sites, marketers and agencies now work more closely to leverage their partnerships, as opposed to the previous "hands-off" approach that used to follow hyped marketing deals.

In addition, the movement toward accountability has evolved from the simple ability to track consumer behavior to advanced analysis. "One of the things that has been very, very successful for us over the last year is [quantitative] methodologies-statistics and calculus-to understand what's working." He points out an online brokerage that has reduced its cost per customer acquisition by 70%, just by making sure it wasn't reaching the same consumer repeatedly.

Such return-on-investment building programs are the future of interactive, he says, along with what Modem calls the "new integration." The concept involves reaching customers and providing services "however they touch the organization, with consistent service delivery across digital and non-digital touchpoints, not just marketing across platforms."

Mr. Nardone sees clients staying focused on the Web. "I don't necessarily believe that the sky is falling now," he says. "Many of our clients continue to invest in the medium, despite the problems with the economy, because they are getting results."

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