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Nadji Tehrani
Executive Group Publisher, Editor-in-Chief


Online Marketing Comes Of Age!
Opportunities & Pitfalls

How To Make The Most Of It
A Word To The Wise...
Don't Put All Of Your Eggs
In The Same Basket '
Use Integrated Marketing!

Like anything else in life, there is a right way and a wrong way. In this editorial we try to give you some guidelines based on proven experience.

The Overview
Every so often, marketing reinvents itself. I love marketing because it changes all the time and keeps you on your toes. A French philosopher once said, 'The more things change, the more they stay the same.' However, when it comes to marketing, that is only fifty percent true. Namely, the method of marketing changes but the marketing principles stay the same. I feel that because of the ever-changing nature of marketing, there will always be a great challenge in figuring out what the formula for success today versus yesterday is.

Putting all of the above together, it becomes clear that marketing is often like shooting at a moving target, that's why it is the most challenging and most complex part of any corporation. Ironically, to make matters worse, very few, if any, companies pay enough attention to this vital art and science.

Marketing Blunders Continue
As I travel around the country visiting companies, and by virtue of my recently introduced 'Boardroom Report,' which may be viewed at www.tmcnet.com/call-center/board-report/ (please refer to my September 2005 editorial for a description of the Boardroom Report), I continuously find that a certain amount of blunders continues in many companies.

Here are a few examples:
a. Some companies hire a complete marketing staff, but they give them no budget to market anything! I hope this makes sense to somebody!
b. Other companies want to get by with PR only. In other words, they give only lip service to marketing by trying to get something for nothing. Obviously, that kind of marketing will never succeed and the companies that believe in that philosophy will flounder until they lose their competitive advantage.
c. Other companies commit even greater sins by spending millions of dollars developing a product or group of products, and then they say there is no money left for marketing! To me, this is completely backward! Many companies successfully do it the other way around. They don't have much of a product, but they market the hell out of it and, as unlikely as it may seem, those are the companies that come up with the biggest market share!

Case In Point
Not long ago, I visited a company that offers one of the best, if not the best, speech product for our industry. We met with the CEO and asked about his company and his marketing plans. The answer was something like this: 'We have invested 35 years in building this product line and we have no money to market it.' I will never understand this kind of logic. This company will also flounder until someone else comes along with an inferior product and markets the hell out of it and eats his lunch.

Companies Exist For Two Reasons
Having said all of the above, it seems to me like many companies somehow prefer to ignore marketing. These companies fail to realize that companies exist for two and only two reasons; namely, marketing and innovation. Without these, no company would get anywhere.

Thinking Out Of The Box
Today, the Internet, print and television and other media are loaded with a tremendous amount of different messages. About the only way a company can get its message through to its audience is by thinking out of the box. That is the only way to survive.

I feel that companies would be well-advised to eliminate all of the above problems before they even think of online or any other kind of marketing.

Online Marketing Comes Of Age
Everyone knows that the latest evolution in marketing focuses on online marketing. Every time a new marketing concept comes along, people say, 'This is the answer to all marketing needs. We are going to cancel everything else and jump on the online bandwagon!'

Back in 1982, when we launched Telemarketing' magazine in a pioneering act to lay the foundation for what is now the multibillion-dollar contact center/CRM and call center industry, most people said the same thing about telemarketing. I heard people dropping direct mail or print advertising in favor of telemarketing. This was not the right thing to do because no one buys anything from a company they have never heard of. When the marketers came to their senses in the early 1980s, they learned that in order to get the best results from telemarketing, they must combine it with direct mail, trade show marketing and personal visits (for high-value products) in order to get maximum results. In other words, we learned back then that the only way to market effectively is through integrated marketing. Stated differently, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, integrated marketing is also the only way to go. One cannot cancel all other marketing plans in favor of online marketing only.

There's no disputing the fact that a well-designed print ad will stand out in a publication just as a well-designed online ad will be noticed on a Web site. And standing out in a crowd ensures that your brand is recognized and your marketing message conveyed.

Some Guidelines For Online Marketing And Beyond
More and more companies today are leaning toward online marketing. Many are making the mistake of stopping everything else and putting all of their marketing eggs in the online basket. This is, in my opinion, completely unwise because other forms of marketing such as print, trade shows, exhibition, etc. create the perception of stability, dedication, longevity, awareness and commitment of the company, not to mention brand recognition and marketing through education, which are vital in the marketing process. As stated above, no one buys anything significant from a company they have never heard of.

Here are some guidelines for online marketing and beyond:

1. When thinking of doing online marketing, don't forget other forms of marketing.

2. Check the reputation of the company behind the Web site on which you would like to do your online marketing.

3. More importantly, check the Alexa (www.alexa.com) ranking of the Web site on which you plan to advertise. This step is by far the most important part of selecting a suitable online marketing vehicle that has proper Web traffic. Alexa.com is a division of Amazon.com, and specializes in auditing Web traffic of ALL Web sites regardless of the type of Web site. (See Figure 1.)

When looking at Alexa.com rankings, it is vital to remember that the lower the ranking number, the greater the Web site traffic in terms of bringing the necessary eyeballs to that Web site. In other words, you do not want to choose Web sites that have higher ranking numbers than 4,000 on Alexa.com. As an example, the Alexa ranking of TMCnet.com is approximately 3,000, plus or minus. As such, TMCnet.com is ranked by Alexa.com as being in the top 3,000 Web sites in the world! Web sites with much higher numbers simply do not have the traffic, and it could lead to a waste of your marketing dollars.

4. Compare the Alexa ranking charts directly with competing Web sites by super-imposing all of the competing Web sites along with your preferred Web site on which you would like to advertise. This will give you an idea of the suitability of your chosen Web site. Once again, these charts are vitally important to help you judiciously select and eliminate the sites with extremely poor traffic.

5. Check the quality of the content. Quality editorial matter brings quality readers, and quality readers become quality sales leads for your products and services.

6. Investigate the WebTrends' rankings of your chosen site versus competition.

7. Check the relevant term ranking on the leading search engine sites before you select your final Web site for your marketing purposes. For example, TMCnet.com ranks as number one in over 40 relevant terms on Google. We are not aware of any other site in the telecom industry that even comes close. If your chosen site cannot match this type of prominence, it simply does not deserve your advertisement.

8. ALWAYS remember that on Alexa.com, the lower the number, the better the traffic.

9. Look at your chosen site's value proposition. How does it compare your value proposition with competing sites?

10. Investigate the 'Renewal Rate' of other online advertisers on your chosen Web site. If the 'Renewal Rate' is less than 90 percent, don't waste your money advertising on that Web site. As a point of reference, the marketing channel renewal rate on TMCnet.com is 99 percent.

11. Does your chosen Web site offer guaranteed lead generation? If not, forget it.

12. Remember that only outstanding content delivers quality sales leads. Therefore, place maximum emphasis on the integrity and longevity and reputation of your chosen Web site.

Marketing Through Education ' The Only Way To Go
It has been proven that the only way to market high-technology products is through education. There is simply no other way. One of the best ways to address this is to come up with unique and innovative editorial/marketing strategies to get your message across convincingly.

Remember Marketing Basics
As stated in previous editorials over the last 24 years, the key to successful marketing must include the following, at a minimum:

a. Think out of the box and think integrated marketing.

b. Be innovative.

c. Remember the top three rules of marketing and advertising, which are benefits, benefits and benefits. If your marketing message does not have a powerful, benefit-driven message, don't expect any results.

d. Positioning. Nothing is more important than all of the above, plus positioning.

e. And'differentiation.

f. Last, but not least, please note that, without question, an integrated print, online and trade show campaign is much more effective than focusing on only one or the other exclusively.

The combination of positioning and differentiation is what gives your customers a reason to buy your product as opposed to your competitor's product.

To be successful, you need to follow the above guidelines to avoid wasteful spending and costly mistakes and, above all, don't put all of your eggs in the same basket. Online can be extremely rewarding if you follow the above guidelines. That is, integrated marketing should be the foundation of your marketing program to include online, print, trade shows, etc. to bring appropriate brand-recognition and marketing through education in order to help you maximize your marketing ROI.

As always, I welcome your comments. Please e-mail them to me at [email protected]. CIS

Sincerely yours,

Nadji Tehrani
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Editor-in-Chief

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