Sep 30, 2003 Volume 3 Issue 16
The World Wide Web has changed how business is done.
Is accomplished. Is generated, staged and made to happen.
About two years ago I wrote the first version of this article. This is an update for the year 2003.
The WWW has changed business at every level. For business-to-business business.
For consumer business.
The Web has changed business even for those without a Web address. And for those buyers without a computer, with no E-mail address. For those who have yet to surf ... although this number becomes less and less every day.
Perceptions have changed because media other than electronic has been "alive" generating interest, creating a questioning society, increasing awareness and positioning the WWW as "the" place to be. Even for those who have no business being there!
Still, it has happened. It is a rare newspaper or magazine ad (or for that matter, article!) without a www.com somewhere in the copy. At least listed as part of the contact info. More frequently with a call to visit and learn more about a product or service.
An ever increasing number of television commercials do the same ... the voice-over calls your attention to the Web site. Reverse copy scrolls across the bottom of the TV screen - telling the viewer you can learn more by visiting www.something.com
Never before has a tool become a factor for so many so quickly. It took radio 35 years to get the listeners the Web acquired in viewers in just 6 years. A 6 time growth rate is spectacular.
And still, the Web is just a bump. Oh sure, the numbers are big. Yet, when you start with nothing it is easy to get big fast. Double and triple digit percentages (some undoubtedly lies!) are almost expected.
Am I knocking the Web ? Absolutely not! I have 6 Web sites to serve my business clients. Yet, the WWW must be put in perspective for what it is and what it will become.
Business growth has been a bit faster for mid-size and large companies ... very slow for smaller. Almost all the big boys have a Web address (although not all of them have any idea what to do with it ... there are still some horrid sites out there!)
Well, what does all this mean? And why do I say business has changed so dramatically because of the Web?
The "why" is easy. In time past something new, such as the telephone, radio, movies, television took generations to saturate the marketplace. There was almost a Darwin evolution effect - as it developed more and more became aware of the benefits and jumped aboard.
How the Web has been introduced, promoted and sold has changed all of that. Because telephone penetration is nearly 100% at home as well as the office, it has been "easy" for AOL and Microsoft and local Internet service providers (ISPs) to talk ease of use. And offer reasonable charges - less than cable and satellite television - to entice you to sign-on.
Of course, this has put a strain never considered, on the telephone service providers. Who would have guessed the last decade of the 20th century would blossom 2 telephone based properties - cell phones and the World Wide Web - at the same time?
Yet, that is what happened. And the telcos of the world were not ready. They are still not ready! They are still catching up. And will take a while longer to do so. Even with "jump" technologies taking us to new levels at a pace no one dreamed - it is going to take a while to bring everything together so everything works. D.I.R.F.T. = Do It Right the First Time ... has not happened often in the short history of the Web.
Further, because Dell and Gateway and IBM and now Hewlett-Packard will "build" a PC or laptop to your specs, it has been "assumed" by marketers you will want such a box. Even building to order can be reasonable, the manufacturers learned. So they pitch you can afford it, and almost "assume" everyone will buy.
Plus, it is "in" to have a Web site. And be active in using the Web . At least to be able to talk about it. Today it is more okay NOT to own a television than to admit you are not Web savvy.
This is all "why". It is easy to understand.
Now, what does all this mean? I've discovered 4 key factors have become the elements in the buy / sell relationship of the 21st Century. If you have a Web site you already know this. If you have shopped on the Web you know this. If you sell B-2-B or to consumers, you know this.
Yet, what makes it different this time is if you do NOT have a Web site, you still have a level of expectation the same as if you did. If you have NOT surfed and shopped, you also expect these same 4 factors to be in place. And it matters not if you are a business or consumer marketer, these 4 elements have become "fact" in marketing.
1. Choice - options, a selection, a variety is expected ... and if not available your prospect will not become your customer!
2. Service - taking care of the customer has been an issue since the 1980's - the Web has made service more important today than quality!
3. Speed - since the beginning of recorded history man has been possessed by "speed" ... the Web has increased that intensity.
4. Value - following the end of World War II the "rich" western world taught the marketplace about an offer, a good deal - it is now a basic expectation.
So, what's the"problem"? If both those experienced and those not have the same standards it should be easier - right?
If these 4 factors have become the driving force behind buyers decisions, and we all know it - let's just fulfill them. Right?
Sorry to say, "no", it's just not that easy. Although it appears very simple, fulfilling expectations is more difficult ... not less.
Let's begin with Choice. Today Choice is more important to the buyer than even the features and benefits of the product or service. Because Choice equals options. And with options the buyer can get the features / benefits mix they wish.
For example, today Choice is more than red / white / blue. Small / medium / large. Choice is a score or more of color in a dozen or more sizes. With and without pockets, available in both short and long sleeves, with and without cuffs, with buttons or snaps.
Yet, there are still a few who feel they will build it and you and I will come. A theory that was probably never accurate is totally out of it in the 21st Century.
The example a recent contact gave me was the telephone. He said we don't get to design our telephone. And he could see the day we will not design our computer to spec either. His theory was we're going to take what we can get, and like it. Reminds me of several World War II stories I heard from my parents.
Well, I'm not sure which planet this guy has been on, as I've been designing my telephone services since the '70s. The kick here is services. Plus, I've had an almost countless collection of different systems on which to run these services.
Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice Cream stores have far, far more Choice than "just 31".
Go to the grocery store and try to count in less than a minute the variety of breads available. Or soups. Or salad dressings. Or dog foods. Or, or, or. Bet you can't do it in 60 seconds - because of Choice.
General Motors, Ford and other automobile manufacturers are more and more building cars to order. The customer picks the make, model, engine, tires, color, seats, all accessories - every element - and the car is built exclusively for that customer. Not long ago the lady in my life bought a SUV/truck combo vehicle ... I can't begin to count the options offered Nancy.
There is MORE of this happening now - soon this will be the way everyone buys a new car. Everytime. Never again taking what is on the show room floor. Choice makes buying a car a customer driven marketplace. Choice gives the buyer control.
My most recent pair of dress boots was made to order. From a wide selection of sizes (all boots come in a wide variety of sizes you say ... okay, I'll give you that one).
Yet, there is more. Toe design and shape options, 4-5 different looks. The base of the boot is available in half a dozen varieties of skin and other materials. And there is color option, too - plus heels in size, shape and color. And the graphics on the boot itself in an almost endless variety.
"Tailor-made" is what these boots are. Fit? Could not be better. Because they were made to spec expressly for me. Do I like them? I love 'em! What could be better?
So, Web or no Web , everyone knows they have options, multiple selections - a Choice.
Next in this collection of 4 for the 21st Century is Service.
For many marketers Service is more important than quality. Yes, taking care of the customer has grown to such proportions that more effort, more technology and more qualified people are needed to serve the customer than to produce the product.
Yet, for hundreds if not thousands of Web marketers,
Service is an oxymoron. There is a constant flow of news reporting the poor level of response to inquiries sent online. If you're reading this you've probably experienced horrid Service. Most likely several times ... and from several different sites.
Sometimes it is poor planning. The bricks and mortar crowd join the Web - and are not prepared. Response overwhelms them ... which is not good. If they had the same response at their retail or wholesale locations they'd know what to do - and do it. For some totally unrecognizable reason these same folks do not plan ahead when it comes cyber-marketing.
On the other side there are several score well recognized dot.com companies who have learned they are really in the distribution business. And are building physical locations to serve their customers. Many of them have no idea what they're doing, either.
Oh, and few in these groups - conventional to cyber or cyber to conventional - are profitable! Wonder why!
I have learned Service comes 3 ways;
Far too often there is more poor or "no" service off the Web than elsewhere in the marketplace.
If you recently had a bad experience at a drug store, auto dealership, restaurant, with your CPA, at a "big box" store, in the doctors office, with your equipment supplier or elsewhere you may argue that point. And I'd certainly not disagree.
Yet, what I am seeing is that response face-to-face is far superior to those in the electronic mode. Especially if there is a "problem".
One of the key reasons the airlines, hotels, car rental agencies have been successful in customer retention is their 20+ year run from 1981 into the 21st Century. With the frequency / loyalty programs.
Yes, you hear all the bad stories. Where flyers fly to get miles / points and really hate the airline. Well, I'm certain there are those folks. Yet not nearly as many as there are, like me, who fly airline "X" because they take care of me - they give Service.
From the beginning I have been an active member in the United Airlines program. The Star Alliance made it more attractive, when United partnered with others to offer a true worldwide service. For most of the time I've been a 1K flyer - logging over 100,000 miles a year with United.
Is it all fun and roses and wonderful? Of course not! Is it 4 star plus most of the time? You bet it is! Because I am a customer they recognize and take care of. You do not have time (or the interest) to hear all the good stories I have flying and getting Service with United. Even during their uncomfortable time of bankruptcy and re-organization.
Today that same 1:1 philosophy applies ... touch the customer, be their teddy bear, hold their hand. On the Web - and in the field. The marketplace expects a high level of Service.
Third on the list to get us successfully into the 21st Century is Speed.
Speed could be more important than thinking and planning. Not because it is reasonable ... because it is what the customer has decided is important. They need Speed.
In modern times it began with Fred Smith and his team at what we now call FedEx. Until the concept of "overnight" came along we were very satisfied with 3 or 4, even 7 day delivery of most goods. If we needed it faster we'd fly it in. If it was a local thing, a bicycle courier delivered. Overnight was not an issue.
The fax machine helped with Speed, too. About the same time FedEx and friends were moving packages about overnight, the fax machine began its' impact on the business marketplace, moving documents about in minutes or seconds.
My first fax machine encounter was 1982. With a financial client a 2 hour drive away. Who I phoned daily and visited weekly. Who told me to get a fax machine or I'd lose their business. I didn't stop with a single machine ... I got two!
Well, today fax is too slow and costs. And overnight isn't fast enough for many. And of course, planning ahead is NOT happening ... because Speed is expected.
Story time: the world's best brownies (really, they are the best!) come from Fairytale Brownies, Chandler, Arizona USA. Eileen tells of a call about 10 o'clock one Tuesday morning from a lady in New York City. Who wanted her fresh brownies delivered by 4pm that afternoon ... for her tea party.
The lady was upset that this probably was not going to happen - a logistics thing. With a 2500 mile trip in the way.
The Web, with its fast and inexpensive e-mail option companion, equals Speed. A key factor in the explosive growth of Web marketing the last decade of the 20th Century was it is fast.
The marketplace is busy. For some they are truly overworked. Frequently companies are understaffed. Impatience is high. "If I wanted it tomorrow I'd ask for it tomorrow" is a classic statement. See above and the Fairytale Brownie story.
If you offer Speed, you're in. You will get the business. Example: for my radio show I needed to buy some equipment for remote broadcasts. I asked the host station what I should get - they told me. And offered a couple of local suggestions as to where I might find what I was seeking.
Being unfamiliar with the area, and not liking to shop anyway, that evening I headed for the Web . Found the sites I was looking for, sent off several e-mail questions, and waited.
Next morning I had answers - from the President of the company! - in my e-mailbox. And phone numbers of 2 locations where I could call and mail-order buy. Guess what I did? And whose equipment I bought? It was a slam-dunk no decision reaction. I just did it. The Speed of the response got the order.
The fourth, and last element, for successful marketing both on and off the Web in the 21st Century, is Value.
Value equals the offer in marketing and direct marketing. It is a special deal. A bargain. A premium. A discount. Something over and above "regular". An incentive. More than normal. More than features and benefits. It is truly "extra" Value.
And today "extra" has become the "norm". Extra is expected. Not just for new customers, or new products or new services or from new Web sites. Customers as well as prospects are expecting extra Value. Each and every time they go to the marketplace .
It does not matter if your product is main-stream, or truly new. If it is one of a kind, or in the middle of a pack. If it is top of the line or bottom of the heap.
It does not matter if your company is the category and industry leader, or an also ran ... without additional Value as part of your package you will have an uphill sales battle. This is not a consideration statement ... this is pure fact.
An offer has always been standard in direct marketing. The smart Web marketers picked up that jewel of a concept early on, and used it to pulllll customers into their site. They did this because they knew an incentive, some "extra" Value, had to be offered to get action.
Let's face it, in the middle of the last decade, as the Web began to gather a following, it was (and still is!) new. Most had not surfed in 1994-5-6-7 ... those that had were not all that excited. It was "fun", yet practical? Not always.
Because I was one of the fortunate to get started "in the early days" (1989 - doing special projects with Prodigy), I can testify to frustrations. Still, I worked through those sloooow text systems, and did my holiday gift giving buying in 1989 and 1990 over Prodigy.
By the time the Web had a name and recognition, Value had crept into the system. The concept of Value was not / is not new. In the middle of the 1970s I was involved with the launch of an Automatic Teller Machine system for a bank in San Francisco. We set-up machines at busy sidewalk traffic locations, hired young ladies from several local universities to corral the walkers - and PAID $1. to each person who would take a lesson on how to use the ATM.
The idea was simple: by getting one person to try it, we'd get more. Mirrors were angled above the machine so others could stand behind and watch the activity. We knew the more people we got to experience the ease of banking via ATM, the more who would buy into a plastic card and a big metal box as a way to bank.
Of course today this same bank charges you to use their ATM! A different time, a different place, a different marketplace.
So, offering extra Value is a long term proven concept.
Why it is different now is EVERYONE is exposed to every opportunity from everyone else. Because the World Wide Web lives up to its' name - it is truly world wide. Meaning you have the opportunity to buy - and to sell - anywhere, to anyone, at any time. And ever so quickly everyone knows what everyone else is doing.
Not only does your marketplace get bigger - you also will have more competition. If you can go out, others can come in. If you can make offer to everyone who can buy what you sell - your competitors can do the same. And you know they do.
All meaning you must offer Value to your audience. Because if they do not get it from you, they will get it from someone else. That is a promise, more than a statement. It is fact, much more than theory. It is happening every day. Including today.
That's it ... 4 key words describing what it takes to be a successful marketer early in the 21st Century;
Put these phrases, and their meaning, to work for you. And you will enjoy marketing success.
A FREE Audio Tape for YOU!
Because Ray Speaks ... it is expected he'll have audio and video tapes.
Why? To share with speakers bureaus, meeting planners and others interested in what he may have to say. So "yes", there is an audio tape. And he'll be happy to send you a copy. FREE. No strings attached.
The tape is a selection from several speaking gigs. A few case histories, some "how to..." ideas. And such. About an hour's worth of chatter ... some of it actually very entertaining!
If you'd like you very own copy, send an E-mail to ...
Your tape will be on the way to you within the day.
Oh, when you have a need for a speaker, and feel a demo video tape could be valuable to you, just ask for a copy. Not much use for video these days - with the Web - still, we'll be happy to forward one to you.
Blechert & Blechert is a marketing agency in Sweden. And a good one, too!
Not certain, I think it was at the then famous, now dead, Montreaux Symposium held in the spring in Switzerland where I first met Bo Blechert. Between then and now Bo has stayed in touch with direct mail. This truly different thought is from his most recent mailing.
The original is in Swedish - Bo translates. Here is his description, word for word, of this direct mail package;
"The letter headline says "Combining pleasure and business" ... followed by "... or how to hit two flies with one smash!"
What Bo does NOT say is that two, very ugly and black plastic flies are attached to the letter! UGH! The only thing good about the look is they are plastic, not pickled.
"The copy talks about the summer and disturbing flies. Therefore a " fly-swatter" is enclosed."
And, "yes", there is a fly-swatter. Plastic. In two pieces, that fit together snugly. Looks like it will really work.
He continues; "We also refer to time available to read the enclosed
Not sure what IDN is ... I think a loose group of agencies from around the world who work together.
Bo ends with this comment, about the reply card;
"... Clients get a "selected" premium and prospects the "fly-swatter"
Not sure how to politely say this to Bo; "This package would never 'fly' in North America". This is one direct mail package from which I will NOT steal any ideas. It is close to being revolting. Plus, the offer is a 'surprise', which is about as good as no offer at all.
If I'm lucky Bo will keep me on his mailing list. Next time I'll undoubtedly have better things to share.
"It IS What's Next!"
It's become known as "the story".
I've shared it with a number of health care organizations, a database marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a publishing organization, a DM association - and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit It IS What's Next!)
When you have a need for a 40-60 minute program, I'll give you this different, interesting, meaningful, warm and true action presentation. If you want a half-day interactive seminar, that can happen, too. For your club. Your company. Your organization. Your association. Your school or University. Any group you have. At any place. At any time. For any reason.
It IS What’s Next! is available to you as a Keynote Address. As a special program. As an opening or closing presentation. As a different / unique session.
... another Idea
New business friend Gerry Sacks of Houston, Texas sent me here. It turns out this leading information resource from the financial world offers a collection of marketing & sales ideas. Still, no matter your business, you will find good material here. Offered by 80+ experts (including me!) ... visit ProducersWEB.com
Over the summer months this E-zine included several collections of strictly fun things.
This line from Anonymous stays in that groove;
"Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious."
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
... and one more Idea
An eon ago Burt Dubin came into my life. And has stayed. We continue to swap ideas.
One area of common ground is we're both speakers. And, Burt is a "teacher" ... working with professionals helping them grow to masters - as well as new comers just breaking in to the speaker business.
To learn more about what Burt might offer you, visit his exclusive resource and most interesting web site. Plus, you may wish to opt-in for his FREE E-zine. It's easy - surf to www.SpeakingBizSuccess.com and take a tour. Or send an E-mail to email@example.com.
Magic Marketing Minutes
Eye-flow for envelopes
Dr. Vogele of Germany has done some studies on how people look at Direct Mail envelopes. This is what he learned:
What does all this say? What it says is these things need to be answered on your envelope:
This is how most people look at an envelope for the very first time. Know this as you think about preparing your Direct Mail envelope.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.