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CEA Gets Web Marketing Tips From Mitch Joel

San Francisco – Today’s brand managers must reboot their
long-established thinking about marketing and embrace that the web is a
completely different medium.

That’s part of the message Mitch Joel, president of Twist
Image and author of “Six Pixels of Separation,” discussed during his luncheon keynote
on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Industry Forum at the
Fairmont Hotel, here.

Joel said that display ads on the web and email marketing
efforts online are holdovers from pre-Internet marketing era.

“Search is the first introduction of a brand” in many cases,
Joel noted, and apps such as the SnapTell phone app can tell a consumer where a
product is being sold near his or her location, the price and the reviews of
the product. Yelp can do the same thing in the hospitality industry.

Technology has removed barriers, so with a 3G or 4G network
and an iPad “we are always online. Consumers are more connected.”

So will consumers always go with the lowest price? Joel said
consumers today are “loyal to a brand due to perceived value.”

He pointed out that this connected trend has nothing to do
with age, sex or demographics. “More grandparents are on Facebook than
teenagers … because the tools are ubiquitous.” He later said that half of YouTube’s
audience is older than 34.

Today’s online experience, Joel said, “is not about idly
surfing … it is about sharing and creating.” He quoted a Bazaarvoice survey that
noted 75 percent to 85 percent of shoppers today read online reviews before
they buy.

Companies have to be part of the communities of consumers
they want to attract. It isn’t about quantity — it is the quality of the
consumers, and brand managers should want “reviews of their products on their
websites” because in surveys “most reviews get 4.3 out of 5 ratings.” But as
Joel bluntly put it, “Your products can’t suck.”

Yes, brands should be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and
other sites, but you have to figure out why your brand should be there in the
first place to see if it has economic value.

Among the final points of advice Joel shared was that
companies must accept the web as a fact of life, but that in many cases web
marketing efforts must be used together with print and conventional mass market

“Don’t write checks you can’t cash,” he noted, namely if you
are going to be on Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking sites to drive
traffic to your home site, “it should be great. You have to deliver that

And marketers “must be publishers too,” Joel added, delivering
content and explaining to consumers the advantages of their products.