Over the past few years there has been a tremendous argument about how to start marketing your business. As a small business or a Fortune 500 company, the simple answer is this-the Web.

Think about it this way. As a business owner, you want to develop a reputation, a brand; something that you can maintain over the long term. Absolute control of a brand is impossible, but if you start branding on the right foot it’s at least a solid start.

The problem is, many traditional marketers will tell you to start somewhere other than the web. Why? Because it’s more profitable for them. Here’s why:

  • Starting with a Public Relations Agency
    • Benefits: Generates buzz about your company and establishes your company’s tone/voice
    • Weaknesses: Media sources tend to spin it their own way to make it newsworth; can be detrimental to your overall brand if not handled correctly
    • Benefits to the Agency: Fees for the client with no major external costs to agency for placement; relationship development with client and continued relationship development with the media to hopefull get story told in a way that matches your brand
  • Starting with an Advertising Agency
    • Benefits: Generates traffic to your brand on a mass level and introduces you to new people
    • Weaknesses: typically not very targeted, meaning that only 5% of those that see it would buy your product and less than that will act on the notion
    • Benefits to the Agency: Fees for development, relationship development with the client and more fees from the percentage they get for placing the ad with the marketing channel
  • Starting with the Web:
    • Benefits: One stop to develop your brand’s voice and develop your brand’s story. Consumers, depending on the industry, research a product online before buying. At times, they search online for solutions to their existing problems. Web marketing tends to be very targeted.
    • Weaknesses: A poor website can break your brand. If your company is technologically savvy and your site is not, you’ve broken your brand promise.
    • Benefits to the Agency: Fees for development and relationship development with the client.

In addition to the above being true, the major benefit of starting with a great web presence is that all the other marketing channels can point back to your website. For more information on a press release, send the media source to your website. Running an ad in the newspaper? Give them a special link back to your site for a coupon.

All marketing channels are intertwined, but by starting with the web, not only do all of your other marketing channels feed out of the brand your site has created, they also return information to your site for tracking.

That just makes sense.

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