Welcome to your newest competitor...the website of the company you are trying to sell. I was surprised when I first got hit with this objection, but the advertiser had a point. It was a major corporate account, one of largest in the industry I was selling in. Just after I presented the case for advertising on my publication's website he said abruptly, "My site attracts five times the traffic as yours, and all of them are current or potential customers. I'm putting my money into my website, not yours."
The point my advertiser missed had to do with objectivity. While buyers will use an advertiser's web site to gather information, no one expects it to be objective. A company that sells a product may not always offer unbiased, objective product information. On the net, skeptics rule.
A study released in the Health Services industry backs this up. The survey conduced by Prospectiv documents that the Internet was the overwhelmingly the most trusted and reliable resource for researching ailment and drug information, beating out broadcast media and magazines by a large margin.
Seventy-five percent of 800 consumers who responded to Prospectiv's 2007 Pharmaceutical Marketing CPI poll said they view the Internet as their most trusted resource for ailment and drug treatment information, followed by broadcast media (15 percent) and magazines (10 percent).
But the kind of Websites used was revealing. Consumers favored general health web sites to pharmaceutical company sites by a huge margin.
General health web sites 54 %
Specific ailment-focused sites 37 %
Pharmaceutical company sites 4 %
Your advertiser may offer very accurate information, but buyers want the objectivity that comes from a third party. Here is where your publication's brand comes in. When your advertiser's message comes through a trusted sources like the ones you sell it will have that extra credibility.
How to use this on a call:
Print out the article I link to below on the MediaBuyerPlanner website with the article headline,
"Websites, but Not Pharma's, Top Resource for Ailment and Drug information Information."
Show it to an advertiser and explain this came from a media planners webiste. Use it to explain the survey and establish credibility.
Now show the down load of the actual poll questions themselves. It's a Word file. Just show them the numbers about readers preferring general content sites as opposed to Phara sites. It should be convincing enough.
If there are doubts about the sampling methodology, don't worry it actually works in your favor. These questions were asked of Prespectiv maintained panels of opted in consumers that they maintain for corporate clients. If anything, since these consumers opted in to be on a panel for corporate use, one would think they would have an above average toleration for corporate web sites. Turns out it makes no difference. More on the methodology on the lat page of the download.
If you don't sell in a health service industry you may need to take one step further. Explain that this is one example, of many, of where skepticism on the Web drives traffic toward independently sourced content.
Download an abbreviated version of the survey containing the questions discussed above: Download prospectiv_pharma_poll_june_2007_posting.doc