I came across a great post today by Danny Demichele, an Internet Marketing Consultant, who puts together a good argument how troubled times could actually have a positive impact on an online business. Here are 10 factors that you need to look out for:
Gas – The cost of travel mean more people shop online
Price Comparisons – The Internet makes comparison easier leading to more online purchases
Advertising Efficiency – As marketing budgets get squeezed more money is pumped online into trackable advertising
Less Big Brand Advertisers – As big brand advertisers shrink they budgets, smaller organisations get more space
Previous Brand Reluctance – Manufacturers will allow more retailers to sell their products
TV Shows – More TV shows will move online opening up advertising possibilities
Investment Dollars – As more people move online, more money is pumped into the Internet
Lower Overhead – Online businesses are typically cheaper to run that traditional models
Less Taxes – Avoiding local taxes by shopping online
Virtual Services – Helping customers reduce their costs
I was thinking about technology on my way back from work this evening (it’s short enough to walk, but long enough to get a few minutes to myself). I was thinking about the first PC I ever got which was an 8086 (with a Turbo button to boost the speed from 4.77 MHz all the way to 10 MHz), CGA graphics and 2 x 5 1/4 disk drives. Oh, and it also had 640k. Now that’s a far cry from the sort of hardware you can buy today.
Organisational computer has changed too. Back in the day it was all about shared mainframes, punched cards and monolithic computer systems. How the landscape has changed. Even hearing about new technologies, like large scale server provisioning or websites where you can by anything from acorns to snowmobile parts makes you marvel about how we got from there to here.
The question is .. what will the landscape look like in 10 years?
Some products are easier to sell online than others. Take books for example, Amazon is doing a magnificent job in cornering that market, and that is partly down to the nature of books. They are easy to store, easy to ship and most people who buy books will come back and buy some more. Other products are a bit harder. Try selling the diet pill Anoretix for example. First of all, selling pharmaceuticals is much harder than shipping books, the legislation can be a nightmare and maintaining credibility is critical to providing a steady stream of sales.
Take Stratavia for example, a company that provides a data center automation offering. Their website offers a cohesive message around what the company does and reinforces that by promoting different ideas to improve credibility; a list of awards they have achieved, different news and quotes from their customer. All this helps sustain the image they are trying to project and strengthens their online presence.
I’ve just come back from my MBA gradutation in Edinburgh and had an excellent experience as a consumer looking for a place to stay. As my parents were joining us for the trip, we decided to get an apartment rather than stay at a hotel as this would give us more flexibility as well as allow opening up other options for us. Camille found a services apartment called Castle Apartment which was just down the road from Edinburgh Castle. The price was slightly out of our budget so I found a cheaper deal down by the Waterfront. Camille was still keen on the original place though, and browsing their website I found that they did a price match against other quotes.
So I gave them a call and they agreed to match the price which I thought was an excellent example of customer service. We got the apartment we wanted at the price we were ready to pay, and as a result EdAparments.com (who specialise exclusively in Edinburgh Apartments) filled a vacancy which may have otherwise stayed empty. They also have a pretty mature offering, both the website and the reminder emails I received contained links to ancillary services that would have interested someone visiting Edinburgh.
I’ll be quite honest, we were blown away by the apartment. It was directly on the Royal Mile, 2 minutes walk away from the castle and packed with all the amenities you could need. There was a large TV with DVD, a fully equipped kitchen and a massive bath in the bathroom. There were even a couple of books to keep you busy in case you have nothing to read. The only downside (in my opinion) was the absence of an Internet connection; but then, I’m perfectly aware that my needs are slightly different to the norm, not many people feel the need to have high speed satellite internet when they’re on holiday.
I’ve bookmarked EdAparments.com for the future. Next time I’m off to Edinburgh (and we’ve already decided we have to visit again); they’re the first company I’ll call on to sort out my accommodation.
I was watching a snippet from Fox Business News on a company called www.salesconx.com which consists of a marketplace where companies can look for introductions and sales leads supplied by sales professionals all over the country. Here’s the video:
The company is described as “LinkedIn meets eBay” which is an interesting concept. Companies bid for the services of sales professionals who are independent agents, not employed by Salesconx.
It’s great seeing these new marketplaces emerge and providing a platform for synergy between a service industry and clients that could exist all around the country. It helps individuals and organisations focus on their core strengths and obtain additional services at competitive rates from a pool of available resource.
Some jobs are easier than others, even if they are pretty similar. Take for example working on the sales team of a company that has a monopoly in a certain product. Marketing in this case is rather easy as it involves maintaining the image of the company and persuading people that the company is really serving them the best they can.
On the other hand there are the really tricky marketing roles. For example, take Pepsi, basking forever in Coca-cola’s limelight. Now that’s a hard job. Or selling diet pills on the Internet, which is a really competitive market. Alternatively, try selling polaris suspension parts in a country that doesn’t really practice off-road racing. The secret is always to focus on your product’s strengths and making sure you understand the competitive environment you need to operate in.