September 13, 2008

Multichannel Forensics A to Z: WWW.

Few letter changed direct marketing more than WWW.

Prior to the mid-1990s, we pushed our message to the customer. And if we didn't push our message to the customer, the customer didn't buy from us unless she specifically requested a catalog.

Though it has been nearly fifteen years since the first e-commerce websites appeared, our evolution into the realm of "www." has been comparatively slow. Think about it. Our websites were drill-down oriented websites built by technical individuals, not by shoppers.

Once the infrastructure was built, we learned that modifying the infrastructure was hard work. Marketers wanting to make changes had to submit projects to a "book of work", where projects were prioritized based on available resources. Never before had marketers been so hamstrung. Catalog marketers were used to doing whatever they wanted, limited only by the constraints of the printing process. Online marketers require that information technology bridge to be successful.

In the past five years, it seems like the customer became frustrated with the slow pace of change in multichannel marketing. She no longer trusts us, and probably for good reason. We've failed her with false guarantees and marketing gimmicks. Now, she looks to her peers for advice. She looks at customer reviews of products, not the copy written by somebody paid to entice the customer into purchasing goods and services.

The future of Multichannel Forensics is not within any one brand, but between brands that sprawl across the internet. Our job will be to understand how our customers interact with other shoppers, websites, and brands. We'll demonstrate that Facebook is in Transfer Mode with Google, and that customers who come from Google are loyal to Google, not loyal to us. We'll use the Multichannel Forensics framework to make sense of the World Wide Web, a complicated entanglement of sites independent of each other. We will understand our place in this complicated "web".

Who is going to lead this charge?

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