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Internet Marketing: Lessons for Success Part 1

13th Sep 2004
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What is the single biggest pre-requisite for successful internet marketing? Easy. Customer-centric thinking and delivery. How many times have we heard that before? And yet really most of us are still paying lip service to "focusing on what the customer needs, not what we want to tell them." Marketers still talk about 'campaigns' whereas customers want to take control of the relationship. We talk about 'demand generation' whereas customers want their responses managed more efficiently.

So what does this mean in practical terms for successful internet marketing? Well, a lot of things, all of which I cannot cover here, but if you do nothing else do this: get five real users of your site, representing a cross-section of your customers, and sit them down in front of your site. Ask them to complete a few typical goal-oriented tasks and talk about their experience as they go. You’ll learn invaluable lessons about how genuinely customer-centric your internet marketing is.

And the second biggest lesson for successful online marketing? It’s a multi-channel process, not just a collection of separate web pages. You may think of site sections, or online ads, or your web team versus your DM people, but customers experience you as a journey that is a sequence of interactions across any number of channels towards their end goal. The whole point of hypertext always was the ability to link and move between information.

The really successful marketers really understand that journey and how the channels, including the internet, best work together. The real challenge here is getting your organisation galvanized and incentivised to work together, as opposed to by channel or departmental silo, to help the customer towards his or her end destination, wherever that may be within your company. ‘Integration’ will be the pre-occupation for many of the most successful internet marketers over the coming years.

About Ashley Friedlein, CEO, E-consultancy

Ashley Friedlein founded E-consultancy in 1999 to create a trusted source of information and advice on best practice online marketing and e-commerce in the UK. Prior to E-consultancy Ashley was Lead Strategist and Project Director at Wheel Group where he oversaw the planning and delivery of web sites for blue chip clients such as Marks & Spencer, IPC Magazines, Abbey National, Channel Five and Autoglass. Ashley’s involvement with the internet began in 1996 working at

Ashley is author of two books on the internet which have sold over 30,000 copies worldwide (‘Web Project Management’ and ‘Maintaining and Evolving Successful Commercial Web Sites’) and regularly contributes columns and articles to trade publications. Ashley has spoken at conferences across the world, from Las Vegas to Croatia.

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