Heart palpitations. Eyes that roll, blink sporatically, and shine with anticipation. Fingers that move over the curved keyboard, alive--blood flowing like warm milk-- independent of the brain synapses guiding their movement over the keys; hit this key or that key, and then backspace to make corrections. A soft sheen, just a hint of moisture, shining on the forehead and cheeks of the face of a woman; a face partly hidden in shadow. The office is dimly lit. It's a place of refuge and comfort. It's alive with electricity that flies about the room like static, emanating in invisible strands from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, over and above the furniture, the bookcases, the side-chair, and the women seated there. Can you tell she is obsessed with all things Internet?
Why is she--I-- so excited? Because I know the Internet is on the verge of marvelous things. And I am part of it all. I know that the world I live in has never been so full of wondrous things; almost bursting with new ideas, new products, new ways to do everyday things. The Internet has transformed the very model of our existence. I know it. You know it. The children know it. But, few of us take the time to ponder and consider exactly what all of that means.
Within the sales and marketing industry, marvelous worlds of new technology are opening up, and they will change the playing field dramatically. Just as the PC changed the way business was done, just as the World Wide Web changed the way we communicate, these new marketing models are going to shake up the industry in new and exciting ways. Some of you will not 'get' it and you will be left behind. Some of you will think about it before recognizing the power in these new marketing styles, but you will, eventually adopt them. And some of you, some forward thinkers, entrepreneurs who are eager to test the limits, will grab on without a second thought and you will be the winners. Good for you.
I am not going to reveal what I am talking about just yet. Some other time...in a week or two. Just understand that the landscape of online marketing is changing. Changing for the better.
Let's look at some stats and see what they mean to the morphing of both online marketing, and marketing to women online.
First of all, BusinessWeek Online reported in late Nov. of 2003 that "E-Shoppers are Now E-Spenders," saying that, "The virtual world's top retailers are succeeding because they've learned the simple and time-honored tradition of keeping their customers satisfied. What defines a retailer is how well it serves a meaningful group of customers." Quoted by Ken Seiff, chief executive of online fashion retailer, Bluefly. He's talking about "ease of use," an element I employ in my Dick-e-meter ratings on my Dickless Marketing site. Give your visitors too much information, waste time and resources on being splashy and loud, and you practically invite Jane to click her way into a competitor's site. She wants crisp descriptions, quickly downloaded graphics, and a fast shopping cart.
Remember, Jane is the one who buys or influences more than 85% of the goods and services in this country.
There are two other key factors driving the changes to come. One is the adoption of broadband Internet connections. The Center for Media Research reported in a March 17th Daily Brief that "62% of residential households subscribe to an online service at home and about one-third of this group subscribes to broadband." Furthermore, the report said that an overwhelming number (73%) of broadband users say they are "very satisfied" with their connection, compared to the satisfaction of those with dial-up/narrowband users (49%).
Of the narrowband/dial-up users, 30% are looking at broadband as an attractive alternative.
But wait, let's not limit our view to home users. Stats show that logging on at places like Starbucks, the airport, cafes, and hotels, is becoming as natural as using the phone. The Center reports that, "On any given day more than 4 million Americans are accessing the Internet from some place other than home or work."
From Pew Internet & American life, we get this quote, "The importance of the Internet in the lives of professionals who travel often, students, young adults, and people with a lot of online experience has grown to the point that for many it is a technology that moves with them wherever they go and which they access whenever they feel the need." ( (Source: PIP's Use of the Internet in Places Other than Home or Work report.)
In the business traveler category, let's remember that businesswomen travel and use the same tools that businessmen use. Things like palm pilots, laptops, cell phones, briefcases, and wireless Internet connections.
Which brings me to a March 25th story by Robyn Greenspan at Clickz starts with this great headline: "Net Drives Profits to Small Biz." To summarize the article, which cites some great stats on how influential the net is to the small business community, let's just say that of the small businesses who participated in the survey, more than half said the Internet improved profitability and/or helped their business grow. Fifteen percent openly said "the Internet is essential to their survival."
And now, from the Women's Business Research site, this note, "Growth-oriented women and men business owners (44% each) are more likely to have a Web site for their businesses than other women and men business owners ((30% and (31%). Among those firms with Web sites, the businesses owned by growth-oriented women are more likely than those owned by growth-oriented men to have an online transaction capability ((59% vbs. (40%, respectively)"
The world of sales and marketing is changing. Glimpse the future now. Watch this space....