In this issue's Inc. Life section, you'll notice an homage to the famous Maxell ad with the "blow-away guy," the brilliant print ad concocted in the late l970s by the old Scali, McCabe, Sloves agency and photographed by Steve Steigman.
The original ad pictured a hip-looking guy in sunglasses leaning back in a black leather chair, his hair and necktie flying behind him as the sound from a Maxell audiocassette "blows him away." The ad was an instant classic, a point of reference for edgy, cool, high-performance technology, and it's been riffed on numerous times (in our case, to introduce the latest in home entertainment). Maxell brought back the blow-away guy in 2005. He was plastered on billboards, slipped into magazines, and launched as the hero of a game on Maxell's website.
It's the last part of that sentence--the Web part--that sets the agenda for this month's cover story on marketing in the digital age. We report on all the latest and greatest tools--video, avatars, e-mail newsletters, mobile phone ads, podcasts, blogs, search engine optimization, social networking. We list service providers, give prices for their services, suggest when and where you can save money, and elaborate on successful strategies employed by your entrepreneurial colleagues, like the viral video campaign that has energized Ford Models. (Revenue is up; private equity has come in.)
In a quick survey of some of our readers, we discovered their three biggest goals for digital marketing: to generate buzz, to get more traffic to their websites, and to lure more qualified potential customers to their websites. Although almost 93 percent of these readers have company websites, dissatisfaction was apparent in some of their comments: "compared to our competitors, we look very bad online"; "the website design is amateur"; "still trying to find out how to convert those visiting my site into sales."
We hope these readers--and all the readers of Inc.--will find the information they need in our package of stories on digital marketing. And yes, like the blow-away guy, these articles will also be available online. That's Inc.com.
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