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ARCHIVED  December 1, 1997

Going digital

Local advertising and marketing firms are expanding their services into interactive media as demand for Web sites, CD-ROMs and other electronic tools increases.In the last nine months, Burns Marketing & Communications in Fort Collins has added two staff members to produce Web sites and CD-ROM materials, said Michael Burns, the firm˜s owner.
"Marketing is changing," he said. "The electronic medium is causing us to rethink how we do things.
"We did have some client interest and decided to go on the Web ourselves," he added.
After interviewing several Web-design companies, Burns decided that his company needed to tie Web design into marketing. He hired his own team to build a Web site for his agency and then offered its services to clients.
A Web site can be particularly useful to businesses that offer direct purchasing or those that advertise through catalog sales, he said. Even a construction company can benefit from a Web site by sharing informational material with prospective customers and displaying completed projects on the Web site, he said.
"We˜ve just scratched the surface," Burns said. He said the agency has just begun conferring with clients about possible Web sites or CD-ROM materials as direct-mail pieces.
Depending on the intricacy of the design, a Web site can run from $1,000 up to $15,000 to create, he said.
"And there are so many servers out there that are inexpensive," he said.
However, the World Wide Web is not the marketing answer for all businesses.
"People should look at it from an informational and an overall marketing perspective," Burns said.
CD-ROM materials also can be a useful marketing tool for some businesses.
"The development of a CD-ROM can be very cheap and flexible," he said.
While it requires a huge investment to produce a 400-page full-color printed catalog of a company˜s products, the same catalog can be put on CD-ROM and distributed, changed and updated more affordably, he said.
Updates to a CD-ROM are minuscule compared with changes made later to print materials, he noted. And CD-ROMs are still enough of a novelty to pique customer interest and grab attention.
Another marketing firm, Bonnie Dean Associates in Greeley, also is moving into more interactive media but doing it "cautiously and carefully," said owner Bonnie Dean.
"There˜s a great rush to do the Web. It˜s the hot thing to do," she said. However, creating an attractive Web site may not be the best way to market certain kinds of businesses, she said.
Dean said she believes in an integrated marketing approach and her firm focuses on the basics of marketing communications — advertising, public relations and market research.
Some of those services have changed dramatically over the years due to new technology, she said. For example, advertisements are now created on a computer rather than by hand, losing some of the individual touches of the artist.
Kelly Rizley, owner of Kelly Rizley Advertising and Public Relations Inc. in Fort Collins, said his agency also offers Web design.
"It˜s like producing a brochure. The Web pages are basically the same thing but with buttons," he said.
Clients in industries ranging from tourism to high technology have shown interest in Web pages, he said.
Rizley said his firm primarily handles print, broadcast, and digital video for clients. About 50 percent of his business is in the broadcast area. Digital video is becoming more popular because it offers a clearer, more-upgraded product than standard tape, he said.
Rizley handles both editing and shooting of digital video. Recently, his agency conducted a six-day shoot for the ABC television network of the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, on her visit to Wyoming. The piece was scheduled to air in November.
Rizley said his agency is the only one in the area that offers motion-picture camera shooting as well.
"I shoot film and digital," he said.
Digital video costs about the same as tape, but more copies can be made without degrading the quality of the product, he said.
"You can do more layered effects and multiple scenes," he said.
Another Fort Collins agency, Invision Marketing Inc., entered CD-ROM and Web development about three years ago. Since then, it has built a media interactive department consisting of four of its 24 staff members, said owner Karen Hanson.
Invision˜s first electronic project was an animated floppy disk for a technical company.
"They came to us and wanted a multimedia giveaway," she said. "The floppy had no sound and compressed color. That was our first foray into multimedia."
Since then, Invision has created more-sophisticated products, including online ordering and short-term conference registration procedures through Web sites.
For a client that was sponsoring a recent conference in Breckenridge, the agency set up a "Cyber Cafe," that allowed users at the conference and around the world to log on to their personal computers and glimpse updates about the conference events. It contained in-depth reports on seminars and other sessions.
"It was an updated online newspaper of what˜s happening," she said.
She said the multimedia portion of her business is the fastest-growing segment, "but it hasn˜t taken over the other services we offer. It˜s part of the entire corporate package — creating a corporate identity, brochure, support collateral and other promotional activities."

Local advertising and marketing firms are expanding their services into interactive media as demand for Web sites, CD-ROMs and other electronic tools increases.In the last nine months, Burns Marketing & Communications in Fort Collins has added two staff members to produce Web sites and CD-ROM materials, said Michael Burns, the firm˜s owner.
"Marketing is changing," he said. "The electronic medium is causing us to rethink how we do things.
"We did have some client interest and decided to go on the Web ourselves," he added.
After interviewing several Web-design companies, Burns decided that his company needed to tie Web design…

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