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Halogen Network founder and chief executive officer Greg Shove opened with a question to the Web team members in the room.
“Who feels they’re underfunded and underresourced?” Shove asked as hands rose across the audience. “I think this is the number-one challenge facing all of us: we are unloved organizationally. I think it’s particularly important because, as the recession ends, it’s nicely dovetailing with this dramatic explosion, obviously of digital, and now social, media.”
The Silicon Valley veteran, whose company presides over a system of Web sites designed to connect prestige brands with affluent consumers, offered a stark forecast for Web marketers to bring back to their bosses.
“If we don’t generate 20 percent of our revenue from digitally derived programs, we have a problem in five years,” Shove said. “Online demand generation is the most efficient way to generate demand….My second prediction is that 20 percent will be failure. You’ll be deemed a failure as a ceo or as a head of marketing if you’re less than 20 percent.”
Shove said in order to fuel such online growth, a brand’s Internet audience would likely have to grow five to 20 times larger than it is at present. The executive said to do so, brands would have to not only target the content providers their consumers frequent, but also create more appealing advertisements and marketing programs themselves.
“We talk about impressions today,” Shove said. “It’s the wrong metric. We must start to think about brand engagements anywhere on the Web. An engagement means someone has to do something.”
Accordingly, Shove said companies should gauge themselves by measurements such as Facebook fans and Twitter followers. As for those raised hands that felt their front office wasn’t paying them enough mind, the Halogen ceo suggested companies that were serious about Web success might think about adding a new vice president to the roster.
“I think there’s a new role inside of your brands and it’s called audience development,” Shove said, before describing the duties of such an executive. “How do you build, engage and grow your audiences?”