Amazon said that their 2008 holiday season was the ‘best ever’, despite the economic crisis.

Okay, so I can't use photoshop well, but you get my crystal ball idea!
Okay, so I can't use photoshop well, but you get the crystal ball idea!

In the name of a divine 09, I am busting out my crystal ball and getting bold and predicting that the crisis is going to further success of e-tailers.  I think Amazon’s success can be read as an opportunity for success for online retailers in general.

Amazon is one of our positive web marketing role models – they set the leadership tone for e-tailers, and I see a huge opportunity for other, smaller etailers to ride the wave of their success… economic crisis can equal an increase in the use of online retailers and boost sales overall. 

And why do I think this?  Because the web has no elitism and barriers, and when we have to spend wisely, we’re going to go where we can trust and make smart choices.

The web has changed the rules of spending, shopping and marketing as it allows consumers to become PROsumers, where they are empowered with online reviews, peer opinions and price comparisons. 

So no recession depression – get smart, serve your customers well and OWN IT!!  This is a big year for marketing!


  • Hey, Lorrie…
    I don’t know that this is all about marketing to be honest. As I see it, yes, there will be an explosion but not so rosy ( Will there be an upside for some? Yes… and I agree Amazon is a great example. That stated, Amazon succeeds not because it “markets better” or uses some kind of whiz-bang marketing practice. I think it’s larger than that.

    What I’m getting at is this:
    Today, “brand marketing” (the practice) finds itself being re-defined as the real-time aggregation of everything marketers and their customers DO together. That’s different than the old school definition focusing on *awareness* and *influencing* how customers feel about a marketer. Amazon not only “gets” this but invests in it.

    They are playing a lead role in evolving “branding” away from artsy strategies that strive to create “metal states” (uh, who cares?!) and toward a behavior-based science (i.e. “persona marketing” and “persuasion architecture”). They “get” how, when and why customers shop and transfer that to their realm.

    Amazon knows that success in an always-on customer ecosystem isn’t about “out-branding” the competition by making customers feel a certain way. Winning means creating measurable behavioral change. Getting people to buy stuff… over and over… and LOVING it — the process itself (think Disney).

    This radical new re-thinking of branding positions it as a highly measurable strategy that **transcends** marketing. Sound crazy? Today’s successful marketers are empowering everyone in the company to go beyond mimicking a set of cosmetic guidelines. The Amazons of the world are collaborating internally – cross-departmentally – and with customers to create tangible, measurable behaviors that ultimately prompt purchase.

    Experiences factoring into customers’ purchase decisions are often found **outside of** the purview of marketing. They’re originating in other departments – procurement, vendor relationships, prices, service and support, environmental practices, etc.

    Promises are made by marketing people they’re *fulfilled* by the other employees within an organization.

    In this new world, brand is tangible, measurable and inherently actionable. It’s allowing marketers to become more (gulp) accountable. It’s providing opportunity to earn much-needed credibility among chief executives. CMO’s are becoming empowered. There. There’s the rosy side of my comments 🙂

  • Jeff,
    Thanks for the rocking post. The diseased marketer in me thinks EVERYTHING is about marketing 🙂 When I saw the Amazon article, I got all Obama-hope-esque and wanted to spread my rays of smiley web marketing hope sunshine out there. My definition of marketing is maximizing exchanges (leads, views, sign ups, downloads, sales, referrals, etc) I love to put Amazon out there as the 10,000 gorilla because they appeal to the masses and everybody can relate, however, I am a servant to small companies, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals slaving in the trenches. I agree that empowering everyone in the company to think beyond mimicking a set of cosmetic guidelines is what it is about (and was always about) before we got all new media ga-ga. What you seem to define is a new rules of branding (which I am sloppy drippy in love with).

    The marketing therapist in me hears you speak of a shift from sexy logos meets sexy ad budget meets investor capital from Silicon valley dot-com millionaires…This is a new era and it’s about MEANINGFUL MARKETING – grass roots, smart marketing. It’s time for mom and pops (that may not glean a lot from AdTech or eTail by listening to corporate mucky mucks spew a bunch of “shoulds” about online advertising or retail marketing) to embrace the new mini-markets evolving and own it by building communities, leading tribes and SERVING CUSTOMERS…sounds so simple, eh?
    Bring on accountability and bring on taking new marketing steps but only if professionals have a darn good reason to. It’s about critical thinking – reading, applying what makes sense and getting back to relationship development.

    Web marketing has always been the Achilles heel of marketing because of exactly what you said…it’s tangible, measurable and inherently actionable….scary to some, hothothot for geeks like us.

    What I don’t ever want to see is fear of trying the untried -marketing is (and always has been) about testing new mediums, taking risks, creating ideas, monitoring them, optimizing them, then starting the process all over again. We are never done marketing.

    Web marketing seems to get the short end of the stick because it is so trackable – let’s continue to help each other out, learn from what etailers and companies do well and if it applies to us (like Kelly said today, jsut because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD and let’s continue to shake the holy beejesus out of old school marketers.

    Nice guys CAN finish first if they stay current, think relationships, service, support and tap something that I don’t see enough marketers evangelize – PASSION.

    The purpose of my post was to predict my trust in exactly what you said – strategy that **transcends** the old school pre-recession “spend money cuz you can” kind of marketing (which is stupid if you ask me)

    Nice guys CAN finish first if they stay current, think relationships, service, support and tap something that I don’t see enough marketers evangelize – PASSION.

    See, I can always make it about marketing 🙂 The Wild Web Women are Molander fans – thanks for the comment, keep em coming!

  • LOL! And I’m a fan of what you all are doing here. Wow. Thanks for the thoughtful (truly well done!) response to my rant. It seems we are in agreement both rationally and emotionally! 🙂

    I enjoyed the whack at traditionalists and even our own digital-hype machine (you named names — bravo!).

    All the best to the WMT gang and I hope to see you in person soon! Rock on, gang.

  • Lorrie,

    I appreciated your insight into the new year’s eTail forecast; I just wish I could share your enthusiasm. It’s not that eTailing will not continue to grow, and represents a much-missed revenue opportunity for many companies. But it still is a question of consumer income and purchasing. Having directed and managed eTailers, and promoted and predicted the explosion of online revenues regularly, I’m just not as confident this year. Call me cautious.

    Now, that said, do I believe that online e-commerce is an opportunity, both for current eTailers and those planning to take that step? Absolutely! For all the business reasons that supports that eTailing provide. 2009 is going to be a challenging year on any basis, and it will be interesting to see what methods eTailers use to maintain, and grow their businesses.

  • Hi Keith!
    I really value your expertise on this, thanks for the post. I am enthused not at the thought of increased spend, I am giddy about opportunities for increased SMARTS. Spend trend may get worse for etailers before it gets better, but the downtime forces us to think harder and be more resourceful…I think this recession depression will force marketers to be smarter about the work they do, the products they push and will (this is my face part!) force them to best serve their audience to make money honey…how? By paying better attention to them! Analytics, reading reviews, connecting directly with social media and more!

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