What E-tail Account Managers Don’t Know

How to get inside the heads of their customers

The ultimate problem with online marketers is unlike the catalog business—where sending out a catalog in the mail costs a buck or more—the Internet is basically free.

For marketers, that means not only money-free but discipline-free.

As a result, it has spawned a gazillion Web merchants whose young staff members are not trained in the intricacies and the tested rules of direct marketing.

The one guy who figured it out early on was Jeff Bezos, who came up with (among other things) the instant acknowledgment of an order and the “One Click Order,” which he patented, thus screwing hundreds—maybe thousands—of online merchants. Patent attorney Lawrence Lessig wrote that this patent was outrageous. It would be like the USPS granting one mailer all rights to the Business Reply Envelope.

Right now Bezos is the 800-pound gorilla, putting book and box stores outta business and is poised to become the last retailer standing.

The Trouble With Non-Amazon Web Merchants
Most of the kids who design websites, write copy and make fulfillment decisions have never been mentored by the great marketers who themselves were mentored by great marketers, ad infinitum.

What these Web marketers do not “get” is the concept that if they do the slightest thing wrong to tick off the prospect or customer—in terms of copy, presentation, price or creating a comfort level—they are a mouse-click away from oblivion.

My Back Brush Problem
Peggy and I have a yoga teacher who is so lithe that she can reach behind her back and touch the nape of her neck.

Alas, I have short little arms. I can just reach the nape of my neck the normal way. Suffice it to say I wanted/needed a back brush with a very long handle.

A number of months ago the back brush in our shower—one with a splendid long handle—was so grungy with mildew that we threw it out.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

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  • Trish

    Alas, Denny, those of us who know what we’re doing with e-commerce are too old, too expensive, too-uncool to be hired by the websites who need us so we have moved on to those places where we can get a job. Too bad!

  • helstoski

    Denny….You definitely get it….and when my site is up by the middle of February 2013, i’ll be reaching out to you for your input for my site http://www.stuff-for-guys.com.
    Thanks for always entertaining copy.