Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blog Potpourri

Since I haven't had time to post here for several months, here are a few of my blogs from other sites:

1. Cloud Computing: What's all the buzz about?

2. Where would you invest now?

3. Coping with the downturn

4. Summer of '07

Enjoy :-)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Opportunities - The Changing Face of On-line Marketing

Back in 2003, I was given the task of building a new direct to customer business at Monster – the leading job board. The idea was to build a web-site where employers can come in, and buy and post help wanted advertisements without having to talk to a salesperson. The US job market was still weak and there were questions about why such a concept was even needed when a large army of telesales reps were available to sell and take orders from customers. After all, customer relationships are best built when a trained professional ‘consults’ with a recruiter and helps make purchasing decisions!

All nice and correct – but the problem was that there is a big market for smaller customers (small businesses) whose needs are so small that the trained sales reps were not interested to spend their time on these customers who probably need one or two advertisements in a year. These small businesses were also afraid to talk to many reps because of high pressure sales. So, there was this big opportunity to capture this huge market ($2 Billion at that time) where there is very little difference between business buyers and consumer buyers. The on-line customer experience and traffic generation methodologies for these two groups are very similar – and spending on marketing and not sales infrastructure was the correct economic model for profitability and growth.

It was also a great time to use the power of on-line marketing to build a business where on-line vehicles were just coming up to expand reach, build traffic, improve conversion and enhance support. The internet retail sites were doing some of it for many years – but it was new in the career-ads industry, and with emerging online marketing choices and a big marketing budget that only can come from a profitable market leader such as Monster there was no going back.

The next three years were amazing! The new business – the eCommerce channel – zoomed through $125 million sales in its third year of operation establishing itself as one of the biggest drivers of shareholder value!

As we enter 2009 among one of the worst economic slowdowns and steep job losses, it is probably a great time to look back as we prepare for the next boom in the market. Slowdowns are the best periods to invest in new ideas and new ventures – so that when the waves are back we are ready to ride.

So, here is my 2009 resolution – use this blog to start thinking thing through and sharing the changing faces of on-line business. Internet marketing is no longer a synonym of display ads, or basic search marketing. There are many new tools and ideas to embark on – and there are new opportunities to mash-up internet marketing with traditional sales, and for that matter business marketing with consumer. Exciting time indeed.