As I have written elsewhere and Jeff Thull has treated at length in his book “Mastering the Complex Sale” (John Wiley & Sons; 2010; ISBN 978-0-470-53311-6), interactive media inculcate enterprise prospects with the idea that any product or service is, effectively, no more than a commodity. Promote your product or service online and get ready for inquiries (if you manage to optimize your online presentation) based solely on price and availability. But interactive media are not going away any time soon; therefore astute marketers need to plan for the effects as they formulate strategies that will fend off efforts to treat unique solutions as commodities.
My bet is that the evolution of the marketplace into an electronic, interactive “skin” is still a work in progress. This evolution has wreaked most havoc on the news industry which finds itself caught in a Catch 22, grappling with whether to peddle subscriptions or feed off of the comparatively meager revenues from online display advertising. Lots of the downside is now readily apparent for that market vertical, but, as the case with any type of evolution, there will be an upside realized by some news publishers that has yet to be captured, studied, digested and regurgitated by astute marketers. So part of my point is to urge that product managers for innovative offerings maintain a “stay tuned” posture, observing sales and marketing efforts at the cutting edge of the convergence of business with interactive media (for example with regard to online news publications) to catch what works as close to the moment of success as possible.
The other part of my point is to continue to play in the space. Use interactive media to its best advantage. For me, I find LinkedIn to be a rich and powerful collection of contacts for myself and for the product and service offerings of my clients. As well, I am keen on Google+ which provides, through its huddle feature a highly useful means of engaging with multiple contacts simultaneous via a video call.
Nevertheless, never lose sight of the danger of morphing play into a truly dangerous activity where telephone contact with prospects is eschewed; all communication must be done online; and, you find yourself writing emails to prospects instructing them that “when you buy it” just add it to a shopping cart”. Spiralling downward along these lines will truly leave you with no more than a commodity and, in all likelihood, few customers for your enterprise product or service.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved