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THE SCIENCE OF e-Marketing
By Cliff Smith

THE DAWNING INDUSTRY of e-Marketing TECHNOLOGIES

This is the first of a monthly series of articles pertaining to Internet Marketing, or as it is now known, eMarketing. We’ll talk about what it is, what is the current state of the industry, examples of it, and some explanations of where it stands today as compared to its humble beginnings just a few short years ago.  The ideals and concepts presented are adaptable for any real world or virtual e-business as long as you possess the one essential ingredient: a web site.

This first article represents my personal beliefs about the Internet and e-Marketing. I am very excited about the information being presented and the importance of it can certainly not be ignored.  I expect that some of you will undoubtedly have various opinions about the points made within the article. Many of you rely on your staff to facilitate your Internet presence, and as a result your knowledge of e-Marketing may be limited to the reports you receive. Your input, questions, comments, suggestions, and success stories are always welcomed and encouraged. I will try to incorporate your feedback into each monthly theme to help us all stay on the cutting edge. My goal is for this monthly article to be educational, informative, and entertaining. Our corporate contact information is being made available at the end of this article and I encourage you to write with any particular questions, challenges, or comments.

From familiar, real-world beginnings, my corporate background starts back in 1980 where I was partly responsible for opening six full service Marriott hotels in just seven years . Taking part in all aspects of the hotels’ food and beverage departments, I assisted other corporate experts sent to build a complete working food and beverage staff for hotels with an average F&B staff of 200 in six months.   My personal responsibilities included menu and wine list creation, local and standard operating procedure installation, food and beverage procurement along with selected management, and staff hiring and training.   

So what does that have to do with e-Marketing? PLENTY!  It was there that I first became exposed to the well-oiled hotel creating and marketing machine pioneered by Mr. J. W. Marriott along with his son Bill Marriott.  It was as evident then as it is today that in order to have a successful business it is imperative that people know:

  • WHO YOU ARE

  • WHAT YOU ARE

  • WHERE YOU ARE

  • WHY YOU ARE

  • WHY YOU ARE BETTER THAN THE OTHERS

Never mind the wonderful attributes of your products and services, branding opportunities, market penetration, market share, speed to market and the ever-illusive TRACEABLE ROI...

As you have no doubt surmised, we are embarking into new territories with the most powerful marketing research, customer profiling and business intelligence tool ever available, and all of it at a fraction of today’s more traditional marketing costs.  Not to say I shun the traditional methodology with the mass reach and appeal of the ever-clever Super Bowl Commercial; but then again, all those dot coms that advertised during this last game.... Can you name three of the Companies?  Probably not. And each of those lucky 36 companies who bought that multimillion dollar spot?  That seems to have quieted too.  Perhaps the ad didn't work because our web address was too long? No, they just weren't the right place for everyone represented that day.  Are there any alternatives?  Absolutely.

Let’s start with your web site.  It probably needs updating while your reading this, but you don’t pound code and don’t care to.  Bottom line: keep the information provided current!  Graphical changes every year at a minimum keeps people interested.  It’s not that they don’t like the old one; it’s just nice to see a change now and then.  Sensible navigation is essential for acquiring and maintaining new consumer/user confidence.  Keep all fancy tricks on the graphical side, but maintain simplistic navigation with lower numbers of clicks to your desired end content.  Too many companies bury needed revenue-producing pages, making it confusing to the mostly inexperienced web surfing audience.  How fast the Internet is growing certainly should tell you the number of novices that probably roam the Internet unaware of the latest and coolest symbolic navigation. As slick as it looks, you have to build an audience by gaining ease of use and quality content before bringing ostentatious e-commerce into play. 

Now that your site is up to speed, it’s time to think marketing.  Proper marketing of any web site starts with a PLAN and more often than not a BUDGET that exemplifies a strategic look into WHERE and WHO you wish to attract to your web site.  The phrase, “Build it and they will come” is true for Kevin Costner and his wonderful Field of Dreams motion picture, however it is by far not a reality.  Some of you may recall the infomercials on late night TV suggesting that by coming to a seminar and learning how to build a web site it will bring you untold wealth and oh, by the way, you will be paying us for the seminar and when you get there you get to sign up for another seminar, pay us more money and then build the web site YOURSELF!  What resulted was a multitude of people going to worthless seminars and expecting themselves to become web designers and marketers overnight.  It just doesn’t work that way and I truly feel sorry for the individuals and small business owners who were drawn into that misconception. The truth is that Internet marketing is a badly needed service and only within the last two - three years have there even been any resources available to employ these new techniques, most of which are new even to the people who employ them.  

The Bottom Line:

Over the coming months you can expect to hire (if you have not already), a true Internet marketing professional or outsource the work to a reputable company.  We will continue through these articles to present alternative solutions and ideas that I believe will help each of you attain the desired end result from any marketing program…improved revenues, market penetration and a traceable R.O.I.

The Internet and what it can deliver will continue to develop, grow, change, and amaze as we all move forward. You can be sure that the marketing needs once filled by the more traditional large and small marketing companies will not suffice.  This is the dawning of a new age and it’s time to have another cup of coffee and reevaluate your company’s Internet marketing strategy.  

Until next time, Cheers…


About the Author:

Cliff Smith is a Fellow of the Business Forum Association.  He is the President of 1st Net Technologies, Inc.  Cliff is actively involved in gaining community and industry recognition for 1st Net Technologies. Under his initiative, 1st Net is a member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and The San Diego and Imperial County Better Business Bureau. In 1997, Cliff teamed 1st Net with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Bell to create and develop a presentation titled the "Tour of Technology" for the San Diego Insights 1997 World Conference.

Cliff has represented 1st Net Technologies through public speaking engagements at the San Francisco Money Show where he made a presentation on investor relations marketing services for public companies on the Internet. He also conducted two investor relations marketing workshops at additional Money Shows in both San Francisco and Seattle. Mr. Smith was also a Speaker at the 1998 Regional Investment Banker's Association Conference in Washington, D.C. and in San Francisco where he presented an overview of 1st Net and the company's proprietary technologies regarding affinity- based browsers, content-based routing, email management software and IP telephony.

He appeared as a guest on “World Business Review” hosted by Casper Weinberger in June 1999 where he discussed two of the company’s proprietary technologies including the affinity based browsers and the 1st Net "Interactive Business Cards" used to efficiently and cost-effectively market any e-commerce web based business.

Cliff was the creator and conceptual designer of the company's latest marketing product called the 1st LookCD, effectively bridging the gap between the real world and the Internet, all while leveling the playing field for smaller technology companies to compete on a National level.

Another article by Cliff Smith - Click Here


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