This month, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Internet, and also recognize an Indiana social media milestone – it’s projected that the number of Hoosiers using the Facebook network will reach 1.5 million in early September, nearly a quarter of our total population.
The Facebook statistic is just one indicator of our near-universal adoption of digital media, at home and in the workplace. It’s changed the way we live, and I’d argue that no discipline has felt the impact more than marketing:
The Internet has transformed large numbers of consumers from passive recipients of marketing messages (absorbing traditional advertising through TV, radio and print) to active participants in a dialogue about the products and services they prefer (researching online, reading and writing consumer reviews on their favorite websites, commenting on their own experiences on increasingly well-trafficked blogs). A viral video can spark more views and ‘buzz’ than a well-placed TV ad. A well-conceived e-mail campaign can trigger a stronger response than a blizzard of direct mail.
This shift has translated into a real economic earthquake in the advertising industry: From 2003 to 2008, the traditional media sector—including media agencies, publishing, and broadcast and entertainment—lost 32% of its market value (nearly $137 billion), while new media (online content and services) gained 102%, or $58 billion.
While their world shifts around them, marketers are helped by the rise of specialty software solutions geared towards integrating customer communications. The trend towards ‘software as a service’ is making these applications more accessible to a broader range of companies, and this ‘enterprise marketing management’ software market is expected to grow at nearly 20% through 2013.
All of the change that’s roiling the media/marketing landscape creates great opportunities for innovators and cutting-edge companies. Fortunately, Central Indiana is home to a growing cluster of marketing and media firms and institutions that put our region in a great position to capitalize on these trends.
On the corporate side, ExactTarget immediately comes to mind as a homegrown electronic marketing success story. A leader in e-mail marketing, ExactTarget is creating hundreds of high tech, high paying jobs and attracting some incredible talent and investments, having recently raised another venture capital round totaling $70 million (despite the difficult economic climate). Scott Dorsey has built a valuable business that’s already spinning off promising new firms like Compendium Blogware.
Indianapolis is becoming a hub for marketing software. Another great business, Aprimo (which launched from Software Artistry) supplies enterprise marketing software to a who’s who list of clients that includes eight of the world’s top 10 financial services firms, seven of the top 10 life sciences companies, and five of the top ten retailers (according to the Forbes Global 2000). But the list goes on, with Central Indiana serving as the headquarters market for companies like Vontoo, 5 Buckets, Lights Out Intelligence, Market Path, Cantaloupe, Delivera and Formspring.
This growing e-marketing sector is also served by leading research institutions. Our own Ball State University is a national leader in digital media research and creation. The University’s Center for Media Design is on the cutting edge of the drive to use internet-based media and digital technologies to engage and interact with audiences in new ways. Ball State President JoAnn Gora is leading a $17.7 million ‘Emerging Media Initiative’ focused on academic programs and research efforts in this booming field. At IU, the School of Informatics is preparing students for careers in multimedia design and programming. Together, our universities are an invaluable source of data, innovation, and human capital for our region’s new media and electronic marketing cluster.
For decades, our geography and demographic balance have made Indianapolis as popular test market for new products. But looking into my New Economy crystal ball, I believe we’ll increasingly be known not just as the region where new goods and services are launched, but as the place where the marketing strategies and tools that determine their success are created.
The TechPoint Innovation Summit, coming up on September 29th at the Indiana Convention Center, features a panel discussion on electronic marketing and customer management, with leaders from many of our most prominent corporate and academic partners. The marketing and media industries look very different than they did before the dawn of the Internet era four decades ago – join us at the Innovation Summit to hear about Central Indiana’s role in defining the next forty years, and beyond. Learn more at TechPoint.org/Summit.
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