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Video Games

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Like dusting powder on fingerprints, new e-marketing tracking tools are out now that make vital information visible. Certain tools and feedback loops can show e-marketers which content customer segments are interested in by disclosing viewing patterns, which are then automatically turned into rich, detailed reports that clearly define customer trends and preferences. Placing value on learning is not an easy thing for companies to do, but it's critical for evaluating the true return on investment of marketing initiatives. A greater understanding of what customers are interested in and the ability to use that information to drive your next communiquй is at the conceptual heart of customer loyalty programs. The difference between today's e-marketing capabilities and old-fashioned offline and online programs is that increasingly intelligent analytics make ongoing b-to-b and b-to-c dialogues actually possible. Accepting this as finally real and valid will open a new perspective on what constitutes a strong initiative and will encourage e-marketers to leverage all the new tools that are making it possible. But still, quantifying its value in terms of dollars and cents is a challenge. Call a research provider and ask how much it would cost to do a detailed analysis of marketing trends in your sector. How much would it cost to interview, say, 3,000 people and then draw buying behavior trends from the feedback? Share the information with research and development and ask if it provides insight into a new product development. Does it change what they already had in mind? How much do you save catching a false start early? Does it give them a new idea or eliminate the need to test several different products? How much is that worth in terms of eliminating needless development? (Schultz, Don E pp 34- 40)

At a recent Association of National Advertisers meeting, Peter Sealey, former vice president of global marketing at Coca-Cola Co. and now new-technology person extraordinaire, proposed that in the near future, all the traditional marketing and communication activities that have been developed and in which have built major capabilities will become irrelevant. In fact, they likely will disappear. Sealey argues that the three major elements required creating the e-commerce marketplace (bandwidth, storage and processing power) soon will be given the current technological developments and rapidly declining costs, for all intents and purposes, free to the consumer. When that happens, Peter says, the traditional marketer-driven, marketer-controlled marketplace will be severely challenged. In fact, Sealey makes the case that both the marketplace and marketing communication as we have known them for the past 50 years or so likely will simply disappear. Disappear! And, when that marketplace disappears, many of the traditional plans, programs and promotions skilled at developing in the past probably will become out of date.

Sealey makes a strong case for this view and has lots of success stories to support his premises, but the question is, will the change be total, or might it be a bit of in-between? Obviously, given the type of marketing and communications shift Sealey visions, many of the traditional marketing approaches and systems will be challenged. There is little question that the marketplace is in transition, but it is transition, not revolution. Not everything can be sold via e-commerce, delivered over wires or through a satellite uplink. How about services or goods such as childcare or dentistry? People almost have to be there to receive them. There will be a need for demand for-things that require human interaction and traditional marketing expertise. The challenge for marketing, and particularly marketing communication, is sorting out the issues and finding a route to transition. That means not rushing willy-nilly onto the Net simply because it is there and everyone else is doing it. In spite of convenience, savings, time pressure and all the other things that should push them online, some still want to shop. Some still want to get in their cars and go to the mall or the store and jostle, push, see and feel. Some still want to interact with humans in person. Some still want to watch television, strange signal and all. Some still want to clip coupons and carry them in their purse or



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