Speeches & Seminars
Meeting Facilitation
Consulting Services
Alf's Articles
Alf's Resource Links
About Alf
Contact Alf

Alf's goes Luxury ... click to learn more!


Alf's Articles

The Marketing Envelope Please!

by Alf Nucifora

Predicting the marketing landscape for 2000 and beyond is as slippery a process as grasping quicksilver. Too much change and happening too fast to make any sense of it. The Internet will unquestionably be one of the major determinants of how we buy and consume in the next century. I liked Frank Rich's comment in the New York Times, "We ain't seen nothin' yet…we're only at the beginning of this transformation, the top-half of the first inning." Rich goes on to quote the by now, mind-numbing statistics - three times as much email is sent vs. regular mail; Internet traffic doubling every 95 days; 2 million pages added to the web daily.

With the loud hum of the Internet playing in the background, I give you ten unassailable predictions for the next century.

1. It's B2B, not B2C. The smart players know that the real money is in B2B (business-to-business) e-business. Predictions run to approximately $1.5 trillion within the decade, numbers, incidentally, that dwarf B2C (business-to-consumer) spending. Every need that can be out-sourced, from payroll to professional services to buying pencils, will eventually be transacted via Internet intermediaries.

2. A Purge is on the Way. In spite of the unreal market caps for Internet start-ups, and the uncontrollable growth in web site development, there will be a shake-out and it's going to happen sooner not later. Some of the more pessimistic prognosticators are warning that 75%-80% of current web sites are going to be flushed down the tubes. Incidentally, that's what the first-in players like Amazon and eBay believe. Those that will survive the flood will be those who master the time-worn fundamentals of building brand awareness and maintaining customer loyalty. Different time, new technology, same need.

3. Email Rules! It's the new communication medium. And, once every American has an email address, say good-bye to the traditional, mailed letter. It's also how we'll exchange our documents, receive our news and information and, in general, keep in touch in those occasions where the phone won't do. We'll have to fix the spamming problem and the privacy issues, but somebody will be bright enough to figure that out.

4. Don't Forget Delivery. If you've got spare funds, sink them in FedEx, UPS, Mail Boxes ETC., and any other sophisticated physical delivery network. Moving the parcel, package or gift from point A to point B still needs an actual delivery mechanism. Ironically, the more successful e-commerce, the greater the distribution and delivery need.

5. Good-Bye Network TV. The networks had a bumper year in1999 and will have a banner year in 2000 what with the Olympics and the elections. But they're gorging on an ever-diminishing carcass. Viewers are abandoning their networks in droves and, while they still provide the greatest bulk of viewing numbers in an increasingly fractionated viewing environment, eventually, like the daily newspaper, they will survive to be milked rather than cultivated.

6. Marketing Will Go One-to-One. I've been predicting it for years. The Internet may be just the boost it needs to gather critical mass. One-to-one marketing is inevitable. It makes sense for the customer (a better relationship with the marketer) and for the marketer (enhanced loyalty with the customer). Data capture, datamining, "cookie" deployment and customer relationship management (CRM) are all manifestations of the same marketing need to deal with the customer on an eyeball-to-eyeball basis.

7. Market This! It's become the norm and will remain so. Marketing communications will continue to be less civil, more bombastic and laden with larger dollops of attitude. Unfortunately, the advertising component is getting lazier and dumber in the process. We can already see it in the growing trend toward mediocrity that shows up in TV, radio and print ads. The online universe is equally at fault. Its practitioners have not yet mastered the fundamentals of effective advertising practice. While ad agencies are mired in old line, off line thinking, the online practitioners are all too often the kid designer punks who know how to work Adobe, but wouldn't know a creative strategy if they encountered one in a chat room. But, that will change. There are too many dollars at stake.

8. Retailers Should Be Worried. Admittedly, there are some smart operators like Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, etc., who anticipate the customer need and know how to work the system. It's the traditional department stores, the computer and electronic retailers, and even the category busters like ToysRUs who are slowly digging a hole for themselves. Customer service continues to decline, margins are eroding because of wanton discounting and, to make matters worse, online counterparts provide an equivalent or better product with the ease of a keyboard click.

9. It's Leisure Time. Although Americans are accused of fixation with chasing the almighty dollar, it won't be money they seek in the new millennium. It will be time. And with that time will go the demand for quality of life, balance, enjoyment, entertainment and leisure. People will want to climb Everest, land surf the Serengetti, swim with the Dolphins or just plain visit Disneyworld. And, they're going to do it in explosive numbers. For Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate," the magic word was "plastics." For today's graduates, it's "travel and leisure."

10. McCain in 2000. Ultimately, election campaigning is nothing more than marketing. So, you heard it here first. Bush and Gore will go down. Why? As historian David McCullough says in a recent Maureen Dowd column, "People are craving something that isn't a contrivance. It's terribly disconcerting to think that every single thing we're sold by commerce or politics is somehow a con. It's not just authenticity we want. It's backbone and common sense." Both Bradley and McCain fill the bill, but of the two only McCain has a pulse. Unless he self-destructs or pulls a Gene McCarthy, he's the one we'll be calling Mr. President in 2000.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

© 1997-2009 Alf Nucifora. All rights reserved.
regarding any problems with this web site.
Site designed and maintained by  In The Moment Computing