Internet Special Report - Re-Learning the Basics of Marketing (
by Dev Bhata
In 1993, before Web marketing even existed, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published the most important book on the subject of marketing to an audience of one: "The One To One Future."
The authors described the importance of knowing and marketing to individual customers and establishing one-to-one relationships with them. They said the fax machine and fax bulletin boards as harbingers of the new dialogues were possible, if only marketers would take the time to get to know their customers.
It took the Web to make Peppers and Rogers' ideas come alive. Newly minted Web marketers took the book as their mantra by the time it went into paperback in 1997. Its teachings framed the basis for every Web marketing theory and practice. For some, however, the message obscured other basic lessons from prior decades of direct marketing experience. Of the many direct marketing disciplines, only customer relationship management (CRM) flourished in Web marketing circles, largely because it was most akin to Peppers and Rogers' instruction. The rest—basics such as split-testing and sophisticated data analysis—were tough to understand and tougher to implement, and therefore, often ignored.
Now, after five years of Web marketing, the cost of this ignorance is apparent. Web marketing has proven to be more expensive and less profitable than we all first expected. It's now time to take another look at the basics of direct marketing, and rebuild Web marketing from the ground up on the basis of a broader understanding of the challenges and opportunities.
Instead of simply focusing on building consumer profiles, and then marketing and re-marketing to them, it's increasingly important to:
* understand the basics of our product offerings;
* learn through each and every sale what about them drives consumer response; and
* evolve in real-time the marketing of our products and services to take advantage of new understandings. Instead of learning more about single individuals, we must learn how to sell better to all consumers. In essence, Web marketers must learn (or re-learn) the basics of marketing.