July 19, 2017

Big Events

So I had a conversation on Twitter with a trade journalist. This individual had fifteen mentions about Amazon on his home page, and nine of the fifteen (this was the day after Prime Day) article mentions had nothing to do with Prime Day.

I questioned the "free advertising" this person generated on behalf of Amazon ... and of course, the individual fired back with the predictable "This is the biggest story right now and we'd be stupid to not cover it" ... so I mentioned that 9 of the 15 mentions had nothing to do with Prime Day ... and this brought us the predictable "But Amazon is 40% of e-commerce and therefore they have earned the right to dominate our home page and overall coverage" ... causing me to point out that the publication will completely ignore the fact that Nordstrom invented selling at Christmas levels in July (Anniversary Sale) and that the publication will ignore this fact next week when Nordstrom launches the sale ... and that brought out the predictable response that "Nordstrom is comparatively tiny vs. Amazon and nobody is copying Nordstrom and people copy Amazon so we have to write about Amazon because of their dominance in the industry."

This is where I exited the conversation.

Why would I exit the conversation?

Because I found myself fighting my own hypothesis about where commerce is headed, and why in the world would I do that?

Commerce is headed in the direction of Sports, Politics, and Religion (yes, I added Religion to the mix). There are big events, and those events bring in traffic that wouldn't normally exist. The big events get people talking, generating word-of-mouth that results in low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition.

So why would I fight my own hypothesis when Amazon "invented" a big event in July that caused trade journalists to cover the big event? The trade journalist is doing exactly what my hypothesis demands of the trade journalist ... right?

We're all headed toward a world where there are 4-8 big events on an annual basis ... a featured event (like WrestleMania or the World Series of Poker or Joyce Meyer coming to the Tacoma Dome or mid-term Congressional Elections) and a bunch of supporting events that get people talking. In the old days, catalogers did this with catalog in-home dates ... a dozen a year that the customer actually looked forward to.

We'll know that our events are successful and are building a tradition when trade journalists breathlessly cover the events.