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Rules for Success in the New Economy #3: Sell Anytime

📄 Contents

  1. Site-Centric Versus Distributed Selling
  2. Affiliate Marketing
  3. Site Affiliate Marketing
In today's New Economy, a multichannel marketing strategy is needed if your company is to survive and prosper in the digital economy, says e-commerce expert Frank Fiore.
This article is adapted from e-Marketing Strategies.
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Selling anything, anywhere is not enough. Your e-business needs to market to your buyers not only wherever they are, but whenever they spend their time on the Net. As the focus of the Internet changes from a site-centric model to a distributed selling model, the marketing battles are moving from your company's Web site to your customer's PC desktop, TVs, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), Net appliances—wired or wireless—and even to other Web sites. Your e-business must be ready to sell whenever your buyer is ready to buy.

One of the unique aspects of the Net is that it allows companies to conduct business 24/7—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. It's the convenience of buying on the Internet that comes up time and again as the top reason for shopping on the Net. Until now, just about all of this business has been conducted from a company's own individual Web site. This "site-centric" business model—selling only from one's Web site—leads to a site-centric marketing strategy. Build it. Promote it. Drive buyers to it. And then sell to them.

But there are problems with this type of approach:

  • If you're starting a new e-business or want to add a different market niche to your e-business, there are few usable dot-coms left for the picking. An April 1999 survey of 25,500 standard English-language dictionary words found that 93% of them had been registered as dot-coms. By now, there are even fewer available words or sensible combinations of words to choose from. (Of course, you could register words that are not necessarily English words, but you run the risk of coming up with a Web name for your company that means "idiot" in Japanese.)

  • Your visibility on the Net is limited by having a single Web site. The marketing costs of driving qualified buyers to a Web site are a huge cash drain on dot-coms, bringing many of them to the brink of bankruptcy.

  • Believing that the mass of consumers who will soon use the Net for commerce will access it only when in front of their MACs or PCs is a marketing calamity waiting to happen. Your customers expect 24/7, and not only at their computers. They'll want to shop your company any time, at their convenience, and on any Net-enabled device—wired or wireless—that they have at the time.

It's important to build a marketing strategy that includes the opportunity for consumers or businesses to buy from you whenever and wherever they have the time. Your e-business has to be ready to take an order anytime—on the buyer's schedule—whenever he or she is on the Net. The days of bookmarking commerce sites and shopping them one by one are on their way out.

Site-Centric Versus Distributed Selling

Pity the poor site-centric dot-coms. Their days are numbered. Someday soon, they'll be considered as archaic as network TV.

Picture this.

You're watching Ally McBeal and eye the dress she's wearing. You point your remote at the screen and run a cursor over the dress. A small pop-up window appears, asking you for size, color, and credit card number. You click the Buy Now button and it's yours.

Did you visit a Web site? No.

Here's another case. You're in your favorite food store. Walking down the personal care aisle, you head for a tube of Crest toothpaste, take out your PDA, and scan the code number on the toothpaste box. You are immediately connected to the Crest Virtual Private Network. You begin to negotiate with Crest for the price of the toothpaste, promising to commit to buy a certain number of tubes over the next few months at a certain agreed-upon price.

Did you visit a Web site? No.

And still another case. You're looking for a gift for your father's birthday. You fire up your personal shopping agent or bot, on your microwave oven screen that's connected to the Net (that's also the way you get your email) and instruct it to go and buy a gift that meets the criteria you give the agent. Your shopping bot searches all the e-business databases on the Net and finds a selling bot from a merchant that negotiates a good deal for the gift. It buys it for you.

Did you visit a Web site? No.

Sure, these scenarios won't happen right away. We're talking the future, right? Well, remember this—the future has a nasty way of becoming the present on the Internet.

Oh, and if you're one of those cyber-squatters holding those cool domain names, take my advice and sell now, while you can. They won't be worth a hill of beans in the near future. The Net is a distributed network—not a destination point. Visiting Web sites will become passé.

Want proof? It's staring you right in the face.

See those little icons on your computer screen's desktop? When you click a certain type of icon, a small window pops up through which you can conduct an activity. If you've downloaded an applet from Real Audio, for example, their Real Player icon appears on your Windows Taskbar or your desktop. In Real Audio's case, you can listen to streaming audio from radio stations and other broadcast sites on the Net. No need to open a Web browser. No need to type a URL. No need to visit a Web site.

The result? Your computer's desktop is becoming one of the next marketing battlegrounds.

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