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Published on January 2nd, 2013 | by Saurabh Pandey

Stereotyping of Online Advertising- From The Eyes of a Print Media Publisher

Hello Friends,

In this edition of the ‘Guest Post’ we have Bhavesh Thakor, Publisher of AutoCar -The cult magazine for car lovers across the world among other titles.

This article delineates the quandrum and confusion of a print medium that is trying to now also break into the online medium. Bhavesh rightly raises a few questions with pertinence to how the medium can be sold and the challenges that his sales team faces. What’s your take on these questions?

Last week we were having a sales planning meet and the discussion veered towards the usual print v/s online debate.

In my mind it’s not even a debate as it cannot be print v/s online. Marketing mix is determined by the effectiveness of each medium. It is determined on the basis of the right combination or as per the priority or interchangeability and weight age of each medium for every campaign and cause.

It pains me to explain my team; who comes back with the same objections from the agency and client as to what will be the click rate and or lead for their online campaign?

It brings us to the following pertinent questions

Q1. Is online medium a mere response mechanism and result oriented medium?

Q2. Is brand building not an acceptable outcome on the online space?

Q3. How long would the performance metrics dominate the online landscape?

Let’s take a classic case of one of the most prominent category of advertisers on the net; the ‘Automotive category’

Most of the automotive majors, who are spending big bucks on a brand building campaign across all the mediums, get back to the rhetoric of CPL and CPC when it comes to the online medium. They are interested in how many test drive can a portal/website generate at the end of their campaign or how many clicks can it provide or how many contestants participate in the contest that they agreed upon.

Is it? Is this how you want to integrate your brand building campaign online? Is this the yardstick with which you want to measure the effectiveness of a medium/media?

Wake up! Smell the coffee! How many times does a consumer pre-book a Test drive before he actually takes one? There are no serpentine queues in front of any dealership that you will have to spend hours waiting for your turn. Nor will a dealership turn down a walk-in test drive. If that is the case then are you really expecting a user to fill up the data and book a test drive; then why do you put this as a yardstick for your campaign?

Shouldn’t the nature of the campaign steer your requirements on the online arena? Shouldn’t the timing and users profile and other such factors determine the nature of your campaign?

Then why should so much or only emphasis be given to the performance metrics while buying an online media?
Why is then PIs, UVs, CPC, CPL given more importance over the words like engagement, timespent, tenancy and profile of the user?

So who is responsible?

Is the advertiser who is still coming to terms to harness the power of online medium in its marketing mix? Is it the young dude in the agency who is on a number crunching steroid? Or is it the overzealous sales person representing the medium who wants to bag the campaign at any cost without being worried about the intrinsic values of his media?
While online medium gives us the much wanted transparency, measurability and accountability, it is the judicious use of these same parameters that we must set for it to be fair to the medium. Stereotyping will only lead to getting myopic with the medium.

About the author:
bhavesh thakore

Bhavesh Thakor works as a Group Publisher with Haymarket Publishing (India) Pvt. Ltd.; the publishers of the popular specialist magazines like Autocar India, Stuff India etc.
With over 17+ years of experience in media and marketing, Bhavesh is a keen observer of the new media and is a marketer by heart. You can reach him at;

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