Why do some big companies never learn…

I remember selling digital back in the 90s, when the web really started to kick off.  There were massive opportunities for brands that did digital well and as a result lots of agencies were delivering projects and campaigns that showed 4 and 5 figure percentage increases in revenue.  With these as case studies, and a healthy economy, digital was fun to sell.

I also remember speaking to companies that were burying their heads in the sand when it came to the web – big, multinational companies, whose Marketing Directors were saying ‘Digital is not a priority for us right now’.  A cracking example of the effect of that is the travel industry – in the 90s the established companies were fairly quick to spot the opportunity in digital and take advantage of it, but they weren’t quick enough and as a result others, such as Lastminute.com, took market share.

That was then – it’s in the past, everybody got up to speed, and now the online channel is the key channel for most companies in the travel industry.

So fast forward 15 years – what surprises me is that the mistakes are being repeated.  One of the biggest travel companies in the world, TUI, still doesn’t have mobile sites for most of its brands  and doesn’t show any signs of developing them either.  I’ve been trying to convince one guy in particular (who runs 54 of their sites) that this should be a priority now because in 6 months time it’ll be too late.  Response?  ‘It’s not a priority right now’.

OK there has been a merger and some restructures, and that many sites is a complex project, but is it just me or is it a bit of a no brainer that TUI has to do something?

It’s not just TUI – there are always innovators and always those who are more reluctant to invest in something new, but what amazes me is that there are so many people who are unwilling to spend in new channels despite all the evidence showing that they work and they’re not going away.

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