Marchand on Marketing?Electronic Commerce ReluctanceFebruary 1998
Already preoccupied with digital technology in production, printers now need to think about the list of transactions they will soon be able to conduct via the Internet—from initial inquiries and requests for estimates, through estimates and job status inquiries, to change orders and invoices.
If this isn't a definition of electronic commerce, I don't know what is. And none of this even begins to address job files, archiving or information management services
Imagine the changes in how sales reps work with prospects and customers. The phone, the auto, messengers and express delivery services will be augmented and, in some instances, replaced by information moving across the Internet.
The rep will remain essential and "face time"—meetings between reps and customers—will continue to be important, but the faster production cycles will require the use of digital communications media.
Aside from CSRs, people in production and other departments will more frequently interact with customers. Many of these relationships have been in place for some years. The Internet makes them essential and speeds their development.
This comes as news to no one. Several printing companies are already well along the road to electronic commerce; others may be paused en route. The adoption of new technology is seldom inevitable and the route is never smooth, but the Internet seems likely to provide more than a few printing companies with a competitive advantage well before the millennium.
Last month a reader asked me why a marketing guy would want to devote so much attention to digital communications. The answer seems obvious. Web sites and e-mail, the Internet itself, change marketing strategy—from how printing companies identify prospects and how they work with customers, to the range of services they provide and how they communicate. What better time to consider these questions than at the beginning of a year?
I wish each of you, your loved ones and your companies exciting new horizons, interesting opportunities and prosperity.
About the Author
Jacques Marchand may be phoned at (415) 357-2929. His firm, Marchand Marketing, provides strategic consulting services, positioning and marketing communications to help companies in the printing industry increase sales. E-mail may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the firm's work for clients is also available on its Web site, www.marchand.com.