For all of you who have spent the last few years buying the hype of marketing on the Internet, well it's time for brief look back on the promises of how the Internet will change marketing.
No doubt, many of you have subscribed to the Internet magazines that promised to let you in on the new secrets for e-business. Fast Company told you to manage quickly or die, and Business 2.0 heavily promoted the ideas on their masthead about New Rules, New Ideas, etc., etc.
When we look at the current issues of these magazines we see hypocrites who are now talking about getting back to basics. Not sure? Fast Company is now promoting the idea of slowing down. Business 2.0, which positions itself as providing the “secrets” of the new economy, is now mostly talking about basic ideas you could find in any regular business magazine (without the tons of advertisements).
As you can see, we're quite skeptical about the value of these magazines. So, before you succumb to the visionaries and gurus that will shortly be pronouncing what is likely to occur next on the Net within their pages, let's look at a few of the most heavily promoted ideas in marketing over the past year.
Here's one area that was supposed to change dramatically due to the net's ability to allow for “flexible pricing.” Priceline was its head cheerleader. The Priceline model was supposed to shift power back into the hands of people and away from companies. Maybe, but aside from the fact that Priceline did what it could to take as much as possible as the middleman (oh, yes, the middleman was supposed to be disintermediated), the model looks to be questionable.
As we've said before, innovative pricing models may survive, but will they fundamentally require rethinking the basic tenets of marketing? We don't think so.
Why? First, by focusing on price, the models induce a lack of brand loyalty which manufacturers will be loath to endure. Second, innovative pricing models are only interesting when you have a high involvement purchase and there are little substitutes (think “auction”). But people are trying to extend this rather specialized model into product categories that don't share these characteristics. Why are they doing this? Because the net makes it theoretically – if not practically – possible. DISTRIBUTION ARRANGEMENTS