There’s something wrong here. We seem to have forgotten about reality – I simply don’t think that there are so many millions of people in Western culture who are so starved for a life that they are willing to throw down everything to rush out to explore the latest greatest cybermall. I simply don’t think that on-line sales are going to explode like anyone suggests. If I were given a choice of investing in a new retail chain with an exciting product, or an on-line shopping mall, I’d choose the former. Can I be blunter than that?
The folks at IBM and other cyber-pundits predicting massive on-line sales of $1 trillion? I can only conclude that the lab staff at IBM and other hi-tech companies have cooked up some marvelous new reality-bending drug that makes those used by baby-boomers in the sixties pale in comparison. It’s gotta be some pretty good stuff!
There’s another issue I have with Padulo’s statement in the Profit article – he falls into the trap that many do, of indicating that the Web is a medium that is used for one simple thing. In his case, it’s online sales.
Talk to some people, and they’ll tell you, “the Web is a sales medium.” Others will definitively answer that “it’s a marketing tool,” while others believe it to be “a customer support tool,” or that it is simply an “entertainment tool.” All kinds of people have convinced themselves of some type of narrow view of the Internet, and have closed their minds to the reality that it will come to serve many hundreds of different corporate strategic purposes.
Then there are those who think that it is all a waste of time, and simply wish it would go away.
The problem here is that too many people try and treat the Internet as a cookie cutter solution to many different complex business problems. Understand this — the Web is many thing to many people, and it is not really possible to offer it up as a one-stop shopping solution to a problem. It will be what you want it to be, and can be used as a powerful tool with many different business situations, many of them far beyond sales or marketing strategies.
There you are – a marketing executive with a large company. You’ve had the techies banging on your door, screaming for money to do something neat on the Web! You’ve got all kinds of hot new Web design companies pleading for a meeting to help you depart with your money, and you’ve got reps from the new interactive division of your agency, screaming that “you simply must do this!” Over lunch, you get pitch after pitch about why agency X is better at this new game of the Web, and why so many other efforts by their competition simply, well, suck.
As for you? You’re confused, concerned, and trying to concentrate on things that seem to be far more important that this silly thing called the Internet. You’re not quite convinced that it is something that you should be paying attention to – after all, there seems to be such mixed messages out there about it. You’ve got a corporate Web site – but are not convinced that it is working.
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Tags: business, Internet, phone cards