Regardless of what fate may lie in store for the high street music retailer HMV there was one rather telling piece of information that was reported on when it was announced that the company had been placed in to administration – several news agencies reported that HMV may well be kept alive by the music companies and the film companies whose products it stocks purely for the purposes of advertising their respective products.

Indeed, companies including Sony, Universal Music and Warner Music were all named in a report by The Sunday Times that noted that such organisations were all willing to offer HMV favourable lines of credit and also lower the price of the products that they sell directly to HMV allowing them to be more competitive when competing with the likes of on-line retailers such as Amazon and Play.com. Why then would companies such as Sony be at all interested in the survival of HMV? The answer lies squarely with advertising, which in itself is another industry which has migrated in large numbers over to the online community.

The Attraction of HMV to Advertisers

HMV has 223 outlets across the UK and, importantly, many of these outlets are located smack bang on the high street and still sell items which people readily consume – music, films, headphones and computer games. The positioning of HMV on the high street is important as the window displays in the stores effectively serve to act as large advertising spaces which companies can use to promote their products.

Furthermore, the sheer volume of people that walk up and down UK high streets each week means that HMV’s glass displays offer entertainment companies the like of Sony the opportunity to promote their artists and films to large numbers of people on an hourly basis. This process is essentially a direct form of marketing as high streets generally attract the majority of their pedestrians from the 15 – 40 age range; who are, in themselves, the largest consumers of entertainment products.

Direct marketing has become increasingly difficult to sustain on television over the course of the last decade as a result of a deluge of TV channels that split audiences and lower ratings and so Sony and Universal may judge HMV, and the glass frontages that it offers, to be a solid means of commuting directly with their target markets.

The Evolution of Direct Marketing

Clearly the rising popular of online shopping has affected HMV’s profits and the online forum for shopping is often heralded as being the best means with which to communicate directly with potential consumers as well as convince existing consumers to buy more. Online retailers readily track their customers’ previous orders and send them e-mails suggesting similar products that they may be interested in. Similarly, direct forms of marketing via the internet are considered to have revolutionised the manner in which a business seeks out its potential consumers.

An Example of How Online Marketing Can Work

The natural need that people feel to want to express themselves is largely utilised to the benefit of companies promoting products. Indeed, the online presence of web pages that display press releases, articles, blogs and general web content can be used to target the consumer. For example, a student who writes a blog in her spare time about her love of clothes and clothes shopping will naturally attract the attention of those who search the internet for clothes.

In addition to this, the student blogger may be approached by clothes companies who wish to advertise on her page or blog. By this process, a business can be sure that it is directly targeting the correct audience – the online blog allows clothes companies to directly advertise to people who read a blog about clothes.

All told, this process really isn’t that far removed from Sony and Universal wanting to target their customers via a window display in a perfectly placed high street store. In fact, the web page offers the online business a perfectly positioned window display all of its own.

Ian Arnison-Phillips is a freelance writer who is constantly on the lookout for new and creative ways to market yourself. He believes that by utilising the services of a professional SEO copywriter, you can really improve the way you are perceived online.

Through The Online Looking Glass: The Future Of Direct Marketing?