The Amazon Effect And The World Of Marketing
What is the Amazon Effect
It’s no secret that people have changed the way they buy things over the last 20 years. “The Amazon Effect” as it is dubbed has been the source of one of the strongest and longest lasting market shifts. Forbes put it best when it said. “This term describes the effect that the entire digital marketplace has had on traditional forms of commerce, like brick-and-mortar retail. Namely, the Amazon effect has introduced consumers to an almost completely frictionless shopping process with near-immediate results (more and more, this refers to delivery, too).”
How does the Amazon Effect change marketing
The effect on Marketing and those who call it a profession has been twofold. First they have had to learn to adapt the prospecting model so that it incorporates new and traditional models. The “traditional” being the transfer of trust that happens with tactile touch. The “new” being the combination of additional touch points through low cost marketing channels and the integration of immediate purchasing options. Secondly, it has changed the expectation of those Marketing professionals in the way they procure and manage marketing campaigns.
The new expectation of Marketing Professionals
Although print and mail may still be one of the largest areas that take up a Marketing budget it is hardly the most frequent. The modern marketer has a marketing calendar that requires daily attention and adjustment. They must manage Social Media, SEO, Google Ads, E-Mail and copy writing for content campaigns. This means that their schedule is full of hundreds of projects that require enormous amounts of time. Unfortunately, for very small rates of return but also very small cost. Traditional media, namely direct mail and point of sale materials, still has the largest ROI by far. This means it still must be utilized but the expectation developing, is that it must also be quick and easy.
How has Amazon changed buying patterns
Your average marketing professional is beginning to expect that one vendor can handle an entire campaign for a competitive price. That means list, print of all items, lettershop and analytic tracking for Direct Mail campaigns. It also means Print/Procurement and direct distribution for any POS materials. While this has been the natural change over the last five years, we are now seeing in the market a new expectation. The expectation of on-line storage for all base templates, integrated demographic list building and single cart accounting.
The Amazon Effect On Printing
There are more Marketing Directors (according to Glass Door) in their 30’s than any other age group. Which means Marketing dollars are controlled by Millennials. To stay relevant manufacturers must offer a buying experience they are accustomed. Which means 100% online without ever having to speak with someone in customer service.
If these Millenial marketing directors have a question, they expect that information to be only a click away. If they want to begin a marketing campaign, they expect to be able to initiate, review and complete a campaign within minutes. As you can imageine, this creates a major problem for the print and mail world. Manufacturers tend to progress behind the times a bit.
This is most visible in the implementation of on-line ordering. Where the majority of companies have switched to not just an online presence but a complete online buying experience. Less than 10% of printers have simple Web2Print. Much less the kind of online ordering portal required for totally unique user experiences that are rapidly becoming the expected norm and not the outlier. In Five years if you haven’t integrated one of these systems you will be obsolete.
What’s the right system
The technology required to transition every customer into an online portal is still brand new, which means the options are limited. When looking for a system make sure it has the following requirements.
- User specific templates.
- A built-in editor based on Adobe InDesign.
- Integrated list and demographic builders.
- Customer facing order history and tracking.
- The ability to handle multi piece products (like #10 packages).
- Variable pricing calculators.
- Single Cart Check out.
- SFTP Order Export Upload functionality (be sure it includes the list with the print ready art files).
- Built in inventory management.
It’s highly recommended to go with a license that offers full support and template creation. The reason is the time requirement to build and upload customer files can be the single biggest hidden cost in a “do it yourself” model.