Fifth Straight Quarter of Record-Breaking Revenue

NEW YORK ( -- Internet advertising grew to a new high of $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to the latest independent research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Internet Advertising Bureau.








Expert panel:  Karen Salamon, Andrew Cooper and Beth Langley were asked what are the criteria for small businesses planning their online marketing?


Small to medium-sized businesses begrudgingly accepted long ago that a spot of regional press or radio advertising was all they could afford in a vain effort to compete with the high profile marketing campaigns of their bigger rivals.




Karen Salamon

Director Marketing and Small Business
Overture Northern Europe

For the last few years, more and more businesses have been turning to the internet to market their product or service online - and to paid placement search, the online advertising growth story of the last few years, in particular. In fact, sponsored search is now even bigger than banner advertising in the UK - the latest 'Online Advertising Spend' media audit from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Price Waterhouse Coopers revealed that more money was spent on paid placement search than banners during 2003 and the first half of 2004.

So why is sponsored search proving to be so popular with businesses of all sizes? Unlike some forms of advertising, sponsored search does not exclude small businesses. Entry costs are low and campaigns are totally accountable. Sponsored search enables any company to get listed in the search results on some of the UK's busiest web sites, including Yahoo!, MSN, AltaVista and Wanadoo.

Unlike other forms of advertising, there are no significant costs up front in terms of media buying or creative costs. With prices starting from as little as 10p each, advertisers 'bid' on search terms relevant to their business and are then listed in order of bid price in the search results on major web sites and portals. The advertiser then only pays the bid price once a prospect actually clicks through to their website. This means the smallest local shop can advertise on equal terms with the biggest chain - for example, a boutique hat shop in Brighton could be listed alongside a large department store like John Lewis.

What's more, sponsored search is a highly targeted form of marketing. Targets are not 'cold prospects' - they are people who are already actively looking for the advertiser's product or service. As a result, the lead is more likely to convert to a sale than most other forms of advertising.


As Christmas approaches, businesses will be furiously marketing their products to customers. E-marketing offers new ways to reach them, which are often cheaper and more effective. A recent survey by Continental Research predicts that a record 10.1 million shoppers in Britain will buy presents online this year, an increase of 2.8 million on last year. It is therefore vital that small businesses use online marketing as a tool to increase product sales, run in conjunction with existing marketing activities.





Andrew Cooper

DTI Achieving best practice champion

So, how do you go about developing an online strategy?  Firstly, you must research the market and set specific goals for implementing the e-marketing campaign, for example reducing cost per sale or expanding the business into new markets. It is wise to set measurable objectives such as an increase in sales, more leads or an increase in the average value of each sale.

There are several options available for e-marketing, including marketing through your website, email marketing and you could choose one or both of these to deliver the campaign effectively.

Email marketing is a quick, easy and often extremely cheap method of getting your message across, but it should be planned with care in order to be interesting and relevant to customers. This type of marketing is beneficial in that it is a flexible method of communication that is less intrusive than telephone marketing. It also encourages customers to forward the message on to others, increasing your potential customer base immediately. However, you must carry out market research in order to target the right market. You will simply be wasting your own time and irritating people who are not interested in your product, which could potentially damage the brand in the long run.

Another effective method of online marketing is through a website, whether it is simply promoting the company or encouraging sales. The vast majority of businesses now have a website but not all are user-friendly and easy to understand and this may discourage visitors from returning. A good website, with the right design and features can attract passing trade from anywhere in the world.

Once you have put the online marketing campaign into action, you must ensure any necessary training is carried out and you keep up to date with online marketing regulations as these change often.

Lastly, evaluation is key to the strategy. Feedback from both staff and customers is imperative to ensure the marketing campaign is worthwhile. Monitoring the impact on the business of the campaign against the original objectives and goals will show what went well, and where changes need to be made. A number of tracking tools are available that can tell you where your visitors come from. However, there is obviously a cost involved for this so alternatively you could contact customers via a pop-up survey to find out how and why they visited the site. A prize or incentive could be offered to ensure customers respond.

For more information on marketing and customer service please go to:




E-Marketing needn’t be approached with an ‘out with the old, in with the new attitude’ – tools such as email communications and websites can be interwoven with traditional marketing methods to broaden marketing horizons, rather than to alter their direction.

e-Marketing opens up doors for SME’s, putting them on a level playing field with bigger companies - as your business reach increases so does your potential customer base – and all for a palatable price tag.




Beth Langley

Online Marketing Coordinator
The Chartered Institute of Marketing

One of the great things about e-Marketing is the accessibility it offers. There’s no waiting for brochures to be proofread, printed, proofed again, an email campaign can be devised and sent out with much quicker turnaround. What’s more, with a website, your business is open 24 hours even if your office isn’t. Improved conversion rates can also be secured since the distance between your customer and your product can be bridged by a couple of ‘clicks’ rather than a phone call, a second class stamp or a fax machine that’s run out of toner. The accessibility of e-marketing means ‘calls to action’ require much less effort on the part of your customer.

With ROI vital, the ease of tracking your e-campaigns proves invaluable. Finding out who clicked on what in your emails, how many times your webpage has been visited, how many people clicked through to your website from a search engine are all simple to achieve and use standard technology. The figures are calculated for you and you can soon find out what you’re doing right and who’s really interested in what you’ve got.

e-Marketing isn’t a call for laziness, a quick get out clause. Marketing campaigns still need to be thoroughly devised and your brand or service mustn’t suffer as the result of shortcuts. The new technological mediums open to SME’s should be used to enhance what you already have on offer. A website doesn’t suddenly solve your problems – it’s not enough to build an all singing and dancing site, you’ll need to work to get it noticed. Same as it’s not enough to send out an email if you’re not sure who it’s going to. The new customer base that you’ll have access to via e-marketing are all people who you need to get to know. Once you’ve found out what they want you’ll be better equipped to use these e-channels to give them it.









The importance of e-Commerce for UK businesses



Mike O’Brien, Secretary of State for Energy and E-Commerce says that UK business must continue to adopt and innovate in ICT

UK companies have embraced technology as a key element for improving productivity and efficiency over the past few years. Studies show that UK businesses are making more sophisticated use of ICT than ever before, connecting at higher speeds and deploying ICT in an increasingly wide range of business processes.




Mike O'Brien

Secretary of State for Energy & E-Commerce

From nowhere a couple of years ago the UK has now reached a position in which the competitiveness of our broadband market is among the best in the major industrial countries. And in its 2004 survey of e-Readiness, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the UK second in the world in its assessment of technology infrastructure, general business environment, and social and cultural conditions that influence usage and support services to e-business.

More and more evidence is now emerging of the clear link between the effective use of ICT and improvements in business performance and productivity, it is vital therefore that UK businesses continue to adopt and deploy ICT pervasively and innovatively.

That is why I was delighted to be involved in this year’s DTI/InterForum E-Commerce Awards, which revealed a highly sophisticated use of ICT by businesses in the UK. For example, nearly one third of entrants across all categories are users of broadband and mobile technologies, highlighting the growth in UK businesses adoption of ICT.

The Awards aim to reward and recognise small and medium-sized companies across the country for their innovative use of ICT to improve business processes. Now in their sixth year, the Awards reflect how the UK has developed one of the most innovative and exciting e-commerce environments in the world.

ICT have become a critical factor in business success, and these entries show how companies in the UK are deploying them more innovatively than ever before. The Awards have evolved significantly over the years, with new categories added this year including Use of Mobile & Wireless Technology and Best Rural E-Business.


This year being my first involvement at the Awards I was delighted to see the standard of the companies that entered, and obviously those that were winners. Whilst use of technology is now taken as a given within businesses in the UK, these companies are really ahead of the pack, demonstrating constant creativity and persistence in order to improve their businesses through technology.

As the fastest-growing sector of UK businesses, it is important that SMEs are highlighted as achievers in the use of ICT. This year’s winners are real life examples of companies displaying best practice through e-business, showing other organisations how they can really exploit technology in order to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability, and ultimately contributing to a stronger economy in the UK.

"More evidence is now emerging of the clear link between the effective use of ICT and improvements in business performance and productivity"


The national winners of the 2004 awards, Trade Appliances, an online appliance retailer based in Nottingham, was awarded the title for its implementation and use of e-trading and supply-chain technology, enabling the company to grow and double its turnover in a year. The company sells built-in kitchen appliances and offers products from various leading manufacturers at massive discounted prices.

Through the use of SMS messaging and email updates, as well as a successful website, the company has excelled in its use of technology and has managed to increase its turnover over 100 per cent to over £23 million. Using technology innovatively, Trade Appliances is demonstrating best practice in customer service, helping the company to transform itself from a traditional retail and supply chain business to a genuine e-business.

Trade Appliances is an excellent example of a company that others in the UK could look to for inspiration. Businesses say that learning from other organisations is one of the most powerful means any organisation can adopt to achieve immediate, measurable and sustainable productivity improvements.

So, by showing what works in other businesses, DTI Achieving best practice in your business can help companies achieve best practice and adopt new ideas and approaches that other businesses have shown help improve performance and productivity. It can help businesses see which approaches can work for them and then support them in their successful implementation of technology and other business processes.

For more information go to

Mike O’Brien is Secretary of State for Energy and E-Commerce




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