INTERACTIVE: New-media clinic; New media is simply too important to trust in the hands of geeks

So who needs an in-house new-media department? Expensive, unprofitable, staffed by acronym-spouting geeks who wouldn’t know how to communicate with their own mothers, never mind deliver crucial commercial messages to the all-important youth market. For God’s sake, keep them out of client meetings and, if at all possible, out of sight of the rest of the agency.

So who needs an in-house new-media department? Expensive, unprofitable,

staffed by acronym-spouting geeks who wouldn’t know how to communicate

with their own mothers, never mind deliver crucial commercial messages

to the all-important youth market. For God’s sake, keep them out of

client meetings and, if at all possible, out of sight of the rest of the

agency.



It’s a point of view. However, there are more sober arguments against

the use of in-house talent to develop new-media solutions. New media is

different from traditional advertising. It is not just about creating

an ad and disseminating it. It is not a single act at all, but a

process.



Websites need daily attention if they are to remain topical and

interesting. Interactivity requires a dialogue. Information must be

current and design must be constantly revised to take advantage of ever

changing technologies and to keep ahead of rivals.



Messages from the advertiser must be consistent with the branding, so

it’s no good putting a spotty graduate with a computing degree on the

job. It needs a senior advertising staffer.



All these factors militate against agencies, who seem either unable or

unwilling to make this commitment.



But, above all, what makes it hard for agencies to adapt is that, as

yet, the traditional ‘parasitic’ model of advertising doesn’t apply to

new media. Simply creating commercial sites to back up the above-the

line advertising efforts of existing clients isn’t going to achieve much

for the client or make the agency money.



Agencies - with clients or on their own - must seize the chance to

create content to drive new media forward. They must allow new-media

departments to seek business separately from the main agency.



They must also recognise that the Internet is a blueprint for the future

of what we now think of as ‘mass’ media, such as TV.



But if they continue to be reactive, to muzzle new media and view it

simply as an added-value service, they will be overtaken, perhaps

irretrievably, by competitors who understand better the changing

landscape of communications.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).