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THE SCIENCE OF e-Marketing
By Cliff Smith

What’s Next, Anthrax On The Plane?

Now would be a pretty good time to re-evaluate your company’s Interactive and Electronic Marketing Strategies; they may help save your company?

Though a frightful thought, air travel and an already besieged airline industry do not make many company CEO’s feel very comfortable about putting their most valuable resources on a plane. Imagine you have an important presentation to make to a client that can make or break your company. You arrive at the airport four hours early but find your flight is now “CANCELED” because of the misguided action of another passenger who decided to run through the airport security checkpoint - closing the airport for 4 hours!!!  The result, you missed your sales meeting and the sale went to your competitor. Not the preferred result.

It’s now time to ask yourself a few questions… Did you have to be there in person, of course you want to be, but what if you can’t? Do you have a backup plan? Have you thought of how you’re going to try to avoid this unfortunate experience in the future? How much is this going to cost?  How much was that lost contract worth? If you have a back up plan, priceless!

Today’s business environment demands a Hi-Quality sales presentation delivered through multiple avenues including electronic delivery as well as more traditional methodologies.  Whether it’s video conferencing, satellite communications, the Internet or through inexpensive interactive CD/DVD-ROM’s technologies, there is a solution out there that will work for your company. 

Together these technologies are poised to help carry your company forward through these tumultuous times, and for not nearly as much as you may think.  If you just prefer flying - then by all means fly.  When you’re ready to get back on the wind - just do it. To check out the latest in aircraft safety including accident reports please visit what I believe is the best site on the Internet for the airline industry called the Aviation-Safety Institute ( 

So What Are Your Options?

I have assembled some reminders of the various options to flying around the globe . . . examples of associated costs and additional resources for you to explore further. With all that’s happening these days, reassess your own alternative sales and marketing delivery methods to see how much of a back up plan you have in place for your company. You can utilize or combine as many as you see fit, but try to expand your options by at least adding one additional avenue.

The old version of absent sales presentation distribution was a VHS tape.  Today, not only can you still send VHS tapes, but more effectively, do live videoconferencing, Internet streaming sessions, live chats, live voter polls, and interactive Q & A sessions.  The online live videoconferencing technology has dramatically improved in a short amount of time with some of the better examples being PROXIMITY ( and V-SPAN ( Production fees run $120 - $180 / hour and you can expect a few additional one time set up fees along with various other pricing for options. It still however requires high bandwidth connections for best results and expensive cameras to best illustrate a meeting or product demonstration. Video Conferencing is sleek but ultimately is only as good as what you and your customers’ equipment and capabilities are.  Oh, you want to buy the equipment…. $5,000 to start for cameras, lights, and microphones plus Net time.

The option of doing a streamed event or “Internet show” with a video distribution partner such as Akami ( or Digital Island ( is also a very feasible and quite effective.  The entire event should be done on a professional sound stage with proper lighting, high-grade cameras, wireless microphones, and a qualified production team for best results with technical support.  You’ll have to not mind being on camera, of course, with events that can be done both  “live” and/or  “pre-recorded” - depending on your presenters’ level of confidence and your production objectives.  Production fees run $120 - $180 / hour. They too have additional one time set up fees along with various other pricing for options.

On demand viewing is also available through these large widely distributed networks, which are also becoming increasingly more stable and reliable around the globe. VOD contracts are available on a yearly basis by each provider.  Shop for a good deal.  Be aware; A live Web Cast depending on interaction, Q&A requirements, live polling, user reporting, and other various option costs can mount quickly. It is strongly recommended to rehearse and time your presentation so not to take too much studio time or look foolish while you’re live on the Internet.

Electronic e-mail delivery options of your marketing message via the Internet or more accurately by e-mail abound even more today than ever.  More than likely, you are considering or have already incorporated e-mail marketing into your online game plan. Many companies have opted out of e-mail marketing altogether claiming these e-mails amounts to nothing more than a prettier version of SPAM and is just not working.

Lets face it, it’s easy to buy or assemble specified e-mail lists from companies such as, PostMaster Direct ( and Naviant  ( Just load and in one click, they’re off!  Don’t forget the “opt out message and please comply with all SPAM laws to save yourself headaches.

Today’s e-mail harvesting has reached new heights and is environmentally friendly, but is it really worth it?  Yes, next.  The blasting of these Internet Ads however have your marketing people believing that prospects will click on AND hopefully take some additional action after that…. hummm.  Much depends on the target, but not everyone needs to send the same darn Ad - i.e. “WIN A Digital Camera by registering at my site contest”. Please people, we want more, and so does your recipient.  E-mail names run $.05 - $1.00 each depending on the specific demographic you require.  Investor names can run much higher and have been known to go for $20+ each.

I personally think e-mail blast Ad campaigns are not the way to go, even if they are possible.  My advice, do the research, find out who your prospects are and seek them out on another level.  Utilize a more personal e-mail message - Keep the SPAM in the can.

Best Value?

Presentations delivered with product demonstrations, or software downloads via CD or DVD -ROM seems to take the lead. Reasonable one-time production costs with critical and newly changing data tied directly to your web site for easy updating.  Adjustments are few and combined with inexpensive replication you’ll enjoy an avenue with pre-tested mass marketing appeal at a fraction of the cost, including delivery. Remember AOL ( and EarthLink ( They both employed this methodology and they did pretty well for themselves. Concentrating your efforts on your market will cover a lot of ground very quickly and all without the inherent problems of slower Internet connection speeds.

An important note to think about when considering this option is the potential bundling of your product or service with one or more participants. This shares production and mailing costs, making it FREE for you in many cases.  For ideas about bundled software applications you need look no further than your mailbox to find examples of how this is done and who is bundling what with what.  Vertis ( is a leader in bundled direct mail campaigns, but working with the leader will cost you. Another interesting bundling package, the 1st LookCD bundles up to 50 participants on CD ROM providing millions in distribution for under .02 cents / household, with full reporting and shared database registrations.

The CD/DVD-ROM environment allows clients to have complete control of production with unlimited options, including the latest in multimedia graphic programs and games delivered on new products like Interactive Business Cards, offered by 1st Look Interactive. IBC’s are CD-ROM like business cards that can carry as much information for example as the SEARS catalog on a small pocket size business card.  Unique to the IBC and CD/DVD-ROM environments are certain tracking capabilities that identify users once loaded into a computer, transmitting information back to the company in real time.  Some of the information gained through this method includes e-mail address gathering and traceable links. IBC’s are fast becoming the standard in the technology field and are becoming more popular every year in many other industries.  No special equipment is needed to view the card and more than likely your current PC or Mac already has a CD ROM reader as standard equipment.  Within the CD/DVD and IBC environment clients can enjoy multifaceted presentations complete with Internet links and online ordering capabilities.

These technologies coupled with traditional direct mail have evolved into businesses that can help you get your message out to a willing audience - with large market penetration - coupled with complete accountability.  Utilizing these interactive and familiar mediums combined with the many services of United States Postal Service (, or Direct Mail ( will give you a more personal and accurate approach to your sales and marketing efforts.   CD-ROM and IBC media production start at $1,500+ with replication costs running from just about $1.15 each or less depending on quantities. Postage not included.

The Mailing Industry Task Force

For six months, the Mailing Industry Task Force - co-chaired by Pitney Bowes ( CEO Michael Critelli and Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan - worked to develop recommendations for future enhancement and growth of mail and the mail channel. The eight recommendations support three strategic imperatives: to respond to customer needs, to make mail more competitive and to unify the industry. The Report, the contents of the press kit announcing its release, a sampling of its supporting research, task force members, and meeting minutes may still be found through the USPS web site (

A Holiday 2001 Consumer Marketing Note

Accenture ( reports that 45% of US consumers say items that are on sale will have a strong influence on their buying decisions this holiday season. Economic times are rough, so 43% of consumers say they will actively pursue sales and promotions during the 2001 holiday. Accenture surveyed 1,436 consumers planning to do some holiday shopping online. Though 43% say they will not shop online any more than they did in 2000, roughly 24% say they will shop more on the Internet.

As a testament to the resilience of the consumer spirit, the top reason consumers give for shopping online more in 2001 is not fear of terrorist acts, but rather a more traditional reason: convenience. 63% of consumers who will shop more online in the 2001 holiday season cite convenience as their top reason.

The Bottom Line

Whatever you choose, examine each option from all angels pertinent to your own organization and choose something that works for you for the long term and not just while we sort out this terrorist nonsense.

About the Author:

Cliff Smith is a Fellow of the Business Forum Association.  He is the President of 1st Look Interactive, Inc.  Under his initiative, 1st Net Technologies Inc. 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.

Previous articles by Cliff Smith:

The Dawning Industry of e-Marketing Technologies
The Search Engine Mystique
Is your on-line e-Marketing Strategy Keeping Pace?
Send it in Style

Online Success Comes From the Right Mix of Design, Functionality & Marketing

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