Marketers are still not exploiting the potential of the Internet. In spite of record numbers of people coming online, even though there is more money being spent on the Internet than ever before and although entrepreneurs are targeting the web first, traditional marketers are still reluctant to use the Internet.

The latest “Marketing Trends” survey from the Chartered Institute of Marketing shows that marketers in many companies are not planning to use the full range of marketing technology available to them online. Indeed, for some of the leading edge technologies, such as podcasting, almost no-one is planning to use them.

Instead, marketers appear to be relying on age-old methods such as direct mail. Indeed, in the survey only one in 12 companies were prepared to use digital technologies for marketing. This is somewhat surprising. Marketing tends to be populated by young dynamic people, many of whom will have grown up with digital technology. Equally, marketeers tend to be “early adopters” of products and services – by their very nature marketeers are interested in new things.

So why are most companies not planning to exploit the Internet for marketing purposes? Change. Big business in particular does not like change. CEOs who change things don’t tend to last too long because the shareholders don’t like change. Customers of “bricks and mortar” stores don’t like change either. Keep everything the same and it will all work out fine, appears to be the motto of big business.

Of course, avoiding change means that when steering a new course is necessary it is a major departure from the past ways that is even more difficult to undertake. Minor change helps; ask Amazon, they change their web site constantly throughout the year – so much easier than doing it all in one go, confusing buyers in the process.

Marketers in traditional companies who are avoiding change towards more technology based marketing are simply storing up trouble for the future. Equally, they are providing a huge gap for those people who do like Internet marketing, to steal customers and reduce the market share of big business. The lack of Internet marketing plans shown by this survey suggest a significant gap has opened up for Internet entrepreneurs.

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