Landing pages: Necessary web marketing tools or superflous customer annoyances?

I’ve been thinking a lot about landing pages lately. Specifically, I’m wondering if I could find some benefit from them.

It struck me today as I hurried to “continue to” that I’m not sure landing pages are all that different from those annoying, full page ads that block us from the content we’re trying to reach. (I know, I know … blasphemy.)

There are a number of cases that demonstrate how landing pages can serve as great tools to measure other online ads’¬†effectiveness.¬†But do our customers and readers really want them? If I walk into a grocery store, does some junior cashier bound in front of me to pitch me on their discounts? “Hey man, I’m already here, settle down.”

Granted, if a visit comes from a click-through, the expectation to be sold to is already evident. I argue that the call to action has already succeeded: the user has clicked on your ad. From there, shouldn’t our existing Website content be strong enough to win a conversion?

Am I off the rails on this?