The Changing Face of Marketing

In last month's column, we discussed how digital and e-commerce technologies are impacting the way companies market themselves, and the implications these can have on printed communications. I've since read many more interesting articles on the topic, providing more interesting food for thought.

To summarize, many experts are predicting that traditional marketing communications will migrate into e-marketing communications, based more on customer data capture and its statistical analysis than on traditional marketing media. As this happens, print will loose an increasingly greater share of the marketing pie, but may then be repositioned as the medium-of-choice for high-end brands wishing to reinforce their messages with high-resolution imagery. Both of these scenarios hold promise for printers.

Online Sales

Philip Kotler, professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management in Illinois, predicts that in the year 2005, "Virtually all products will be available without going to a shop. The customer will be able to access pictures of any product on the Internet, read the specification, shop among online vendors for the best prices and terms, and click order and payment on the Internet. Expensively printed catalogs will have disappeared... and shop-based retailers will find shop traffic highly diminished."

While catalogers may suffer in this digital future, most other printers will be able to benefit from e-commerce. While it's currently difficult to build an e-commerce solution for all the iterations and variations of customers' commercial printing projects, increasingly sophisticated database tools and technology will enable printers to utilize the Internet for much more than just providing quotes. Check out how Donnelley is positioning its Premedia services in "Giant Transformation" in the May 2003 issue of Printing Impressions.

Parenthetical note: I was interested to find that Kim Adams, Director of Marketing Services in AIG Annuity in Texas, uses Noosh for "one system for print purchases," utilizing the system not for wide-cast bidding, but for quote consistency with their 35 preferred providers. Clearly, some large companies are already taking advantage of such online tools.

Pharma Indicator

Anyone doubting the growing acceptance of e-marketing should read the fascinating article in the November 2002 Medical Marketing & Media, entitled "e-marketing at the point of prescription." Authors Lisa Tercha and Mark Gleason found that an astounding 90 percent of a sampling of 400 physicians use the Internet to research clinical matters, indicating that pharma marketers may be pioneering new ways to exploit the power of the Internet and increasingly sophisticated database-driven, Web-enabled tools.

According to Tercha and Gleason, point-of-care systems and e-prescribing tools "allow marketers to reach physicians at the moment of truth: when they are making the prescribing decision." Marketers are using these new systems to get "rapid market reads" and "track new drugs, new forms, or new indications by diagnosis, formulary changes, clinical trial actions, competitive actions, off-label usage, and effects of new studies and marketing programs or other promotional events."

Not only is the technology a blessing to e-marketers, it is a boon to the medical establishment, having proven to reduce medication errors, provide greater convenience for both patient and physician, dramatically reduce pharmacy call backs, and streamline the prescription renewal process.

By the same token, the pharmaceutical industry is utilizing direct marketing/mail like never before. See the interesting article in the June 2003 issue of Medical Marketing & Media, if you'd like some very positive news for printers of direct marketing materials. Email charlotte@traversant.com if you'd like a faxed copy of these articles.

A Part of the Team, Not Apart from the Process

On another marketing front, our esteemed editor, David Lindsay, recently forwarded to me a piece written by Jonah Bloom entitled "How Motorola 'Fashioned' Its Way to More Market Share: A Lesson in Effective Holistic Marketing." Bloom describes the necessity of involving marketing from the outset of a campaign, citing JetBlue's smart "decision to involve the marketing team early enough to influence decisions, such as choice of leather seats, live TV, and Terra Blue chips," a strategy that has paid off handsomely for the airline.

Motorola's comeback as a mobile phone contender is another example cited by Bloom. After management hired Geoffrey Frost from Nike to head Motorola's global marketing, Frost "began a quiet revolution in product development... persuading management to think of phones as fashion accessories, not pieces of engineering." This direct and early involvement of marketing has worked, with Motorola now back in a "co-leadership position alongside Nokia in the U.S."

Similarly, printers can position themselves as integral to the marketer's decision making. Understanding customers' business objectives and providing creative and practical solutions to customer challenges can position the printer as a valuable partner, not just a provider of print.


Charlotte Mills Seligman is president of Traversant Marketing Communications. The firm specializes in planning and executing integrated marketing programs for printing and allied graphic arts companies, with nearly two decades of expertise in the industry. Previous columns and issues of the company's Ti Monthly e-newsletter are posted on http://www.traversant.com. Inquiries should be directed to (415) 357-2929 or charlotte @traversant.com.

© 2003 Charlotte Mills Seligman

June 20, 2003
Print & Graphics
Column #51, 6/20
Printing Journal
Column #51, 6/20
The Changing Face of Marketing
By Charlotte Mills Seligman

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