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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal / Emily Tippins - August 2014

Taking the Web Beyond (just) Marketing

One of the things I keep telling people is that "The web is not your marketing channel. It's your product." And this is true for all types of businesses, whether you are a newspaper or magazine publisher, a brand selling consumer goods, or an agency focusing on business services.

At the same time, I also tell people to not just focus on the web as a place for action. For instance, in "Rethinking Advertising in the Connected World", I use the example of Currys, which is so devoid of any form of 'influence' that people basically have to motivate themselves to buy something.

So, what do we actually mean by the web?

Well, let me turn that question around and ask you. What is your physical shop about? Or rather, what roles do you have to fill in your shop?

A store is not just a place where you sell your products. It's also where you influence people as to what they should buy. It's the place where you handle customer support issues, and it's where people can go if they want your input. As such, a physical shop isn't just a point of sale, it's a representation of your brand and company.

It's exactly the same on the web. The web is not just a channel. It's a part of your business, which means people expect you to solve all their needs directly from the web.

See what I'm getting at here? If you only think of the web as a marketing channel, you are acting like your shop is only about the window display.

Obviously, the details vary from industry to industry, so let's look at this from the perspective of three different types of businesses. A magazine, a brand that cannot do ecommerce, and a brand that can.

Magazines and the web

Let's start off with the magazine industry. Magazines are a product that are 100% digital by default. The articles you write, the pictures you take, the graphics you create, and the videos you make are all 100% digital.

So from a product perspective, we have an industry that is 100% web based. And only through past habits do many of us focus on turning this digital product into a printed format.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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