Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bold Marketing Moves...

Often bold moves pay dividends.

This week at the Aftemarket eForum in Chicago, I took the bold move of passing all the empty seats in back to take the one unoccupied seat near the front.

Internet marketing experts spoke on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PFP (Pay For Performance) and Web 2.0.

Amazon V.P. Steve Frazier spoke about how his company is integrating Web 2.0 thinking.

Web 2.0 doesn’t refer to any group of new technologies, but rather the new ways existing technologies are being used in new ways. As I see it Web 2.0 is about user-centered technology – most importantly USG (User Generated Content) like blogs, podcasts, wikis, tagging, and various types of social networking.

Frazier, who oversees Amazon’s automotive aftermarket division, showed the bold moves Amazon is taking pioneering new concepts and technologies.

But the most interesting thing Frazier said was “Don’t expect your customers to tell you what they want.” Then he sat down. In front of me. So, when the session was over I took the bold move of asking him to elaborate.

“I think it’s our job to innovate,” he said. “We ask our customers what they like, but often they don’t know what they want. Or they don’t realize we already have what they want.”

We continued discussing the concept for a few minutes. I asked if he thought it was hard for them to articulate what they wanted. He said more often they can’t even conceptualize what they want.

For instance, people like best and worst lists. What if they could be part of creating one? So Amazon took the bold move and recently launched It creates user generated lists, allows you to vote and creates consensus rankings. (Take a look, it’s kind of fun.) How does Amazon profit from

You tell me. (Call it User Generated Content)

Reply or Comment with your thoughts.

Next week, I’ll tell you what others say -- and what I think.

I may even ask Steve Frazier for his insights.

- Phil Sasso

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