I got some flak a few months ago for saying that one of the rules
of the emerging new media would be that Websites are not for
Web designers and ad agency Netties were aghast. The country’s marketing
directors, however, appear to concur with my heretical sentiments, if a
report from KPMG Management Consulting is to be believed.
The report, based on a survey of marketing directors at more than 100
leading UK companies, confirms that the single biggest use of the Net,
as envisaged by the client community, is commerce. Transactions are what
will make company Websites tick, not information about the materials
used to make a product, or a poxy game loosely based on a brand
Sure, the findings show that online marketing budgets have doubled in
the past year. But they remain extraordinarily low compared with other
media - at an average of pounds 68,000 per company - and the companies
taking part all had an annual turnover of more than pounds 200 million.
Furthermore, the survey finds that by the year 2000, marketing budgets
will have increased to only pounds 157,000 a year, still a fraction of
overall marketing spend. By contrast, the marketing directors questioned
said they expected a third of their total sales to be due to an Internet
Of course, not all of these transactions will be conducted via the Net -
the biggest threat to the commercial future of the Net is still seen as
security, the report reveals - but only purists will be put off by this.
The reality will still be one of mainstream consumers selecting goods
and services over the Net. If they feel they have to pick up the phone
to make the transaction, so be it. It’s still shopping on the Net and
companies that aren’t there will fall behind rivals who are.
As online activity of this nature takes off, the growing numbers of
Internet users will attract a greater proportion of the advertising
pound to the medium. But will these users really want to surf, visit a
variety of sites for fun and lap up all manner of commercial messages in
the process? Or will they go straight to the Tesco site, do their
shopping, then settle down in front of Richard and Judy? My money’s on