Start E-Marketing with This Seven Step Recipe for Cyber Success – Brief Article
Greg De Blasio
You won’t need fancy technology or a degree in Web design–e-marketing is simple once you understand where to begin
In this ever-growing world of dot.coms, Web surfing, Internet ventures, and new art Web sites, navigating the murky world of e-commerce can be a tricky endeavor. For a gallery trying to get into the mix, getting plugged in can be down-right intimidating. But be it on the Web or not, marketing your product is always a good idea, and e-marketing can be vital to the success of your Internet venture.
E-marketing helps position online transactions for optimum strategic and tactical value. The payoff comes with taking everyday tasks and noting how much faster, reliable and capable they become when brought online.
Implementing an e-marketing initiative can be done at all levels of Web savvy–organizations looking for prospects and to establish better interaction with customers, or for businesses just getting starting with e-commerce. E-marketing does not require the most expensive technology. To initiate and maintain a powerful e-marketing program, seven nodes of marketing and technology operation require attention:
1 FIRST POINT OF CONTACT There’s no need to drown in focus groups and survey data to realize that business-to-business and business-to-consumer contact is often first made online. Professionals check Web sites often to ascertain whether company featured has the depth of product and technology offerings promised by its advertising or sales representative. Prospective vendors are quickly weeded out if their sites suggest they can’t deliver the goods. Consumers may follow the same course to check specifications or price. From their initial visit to the Web site, prospects decide on the follow-up required. Every business must realize that a Web site can be your company’s first impression with customers and prospects. How deeply will the customers be permitted to peer into your company simply by visiting your site?
2 DIALOG LEVEL SETTING Going beyond the simple monitoring of customer activity and transactions, a Web site encourages the testing, introduction and maintenance of business issues that have the most meaning to customers and prospects. Online interaction means you aren’t talking at anyone; you’re talking with them. When issues originate from the customer side of the fence, it’s good to know that there is always the opportunity for an appropriate response and a continuation of the dialog. Savvy marketers won’t allow this advantage to slip.
3 DIALOG IN REAL TIME Issues discussed online don’t need to be postmarked, picked up, carried or otherwise simmered and aged. Real-time communication means you can expect nearly instantaneous feedback. Customer and market feedback of this kind is a good example of how online transactions cause what is usually considered to have strategic value to have enormous tactical value as well.
4 INTEGRATION OF INFORMATION Online information emanates from disparate sources and follows what can seem to be random streams. Sources and streams can be found and followed inside your organization and from anywhere in the outside environment. That means the boundaries of your organization are probably a great deal more porous than just a few years ago. That’s good. Once again, the online environment provides more data, more knowledge and more ideas to apply to the way your organization interacts with prospects and customers. The goal here is to work with customers and prospects in a way that demonstrates you are integrating and presenting information in their best interests.
5 INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGIES The integration of different technologies is what really steals the show. Already in use are revolutionary warehouse management systems with powerful inventory control mechanisms and automated GPS tracking. A management system of this type benefits suppliers and customers because it allows access to nearly every phase of the transaction. Data can be accessed from order entry and inventory control to customer delivery and through countless steps along the way. This high level of service is a marketable commodity itself. Online technology urges professional marketers to evaluate how the service levels of their own organization are promoted.
6 TRANSACTION EFFICIENCY The entire argument for e-commerce begins with efficiency. What was once written and printed and required many phone calls and faxes to complete is now a short series of online transactions. Customers who expect the information they need to be available from Web site files for easy access and download are not making unreasonable demands. Many technical sites encourage customers to custom-specify and cost out jobs online. The customer’s order can then be checked and quickly returned. Competitive quotes go out faster and decisions are made faster, In addition, quality checks can be built into the system so when information is released to the customer, it’s more likely to be accurate. A great deal of second-guessing and wasted time is eliminated.
7 GLOBAL OPERATION Online technology allows marketing to extend throughout your own organization to customers throughout the world. That means dialog with prospects, strategic information, innovative use of technology and new levels of efficiency all become just a click away from worldwide distribution through e-marketing. The move from traditional marketing to global e-marketing allows multi-level and affiliative approaches that might otherwise be too distracting from core business activities to be tried on for size.
Greg De Blasio is an E-commerce consultant for the Quell Communications Group Inc. of Troy, Mich.
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