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Internet Marketing: Are You Feeding These Customer Demands?

Aug 17, 2007
I am both a consumer and a marketer. I buy frequently online because I hate to shop. Before the advent of the Internet, I bought everything I own through printed catalogs and customer service telephone lines. Ordering online is easier and faster, assuming good site navigation and minimal credit card snags.

I market two books, an e-zine, various free reports, and some affiliate products. Over the past 12 to 18 months, since my first website launched and I dipped a toe into the murky waters of e-commerce, I have encountered the experience of a lifetime.

I have been suckered, lied to, and exploited. I have also met some wonderful, friendly people who gave me value for my money, a wealth of support, and a helping hand. I have received some heart-warming expressions of gratitude for ideas I have introduced and articles I have written. I have been moved by the plight of some readers who dwell in difficult circumstances far from the sunlit uplands where the marketing gurus reside.

I wrote this report after thinking about what I, as a typical Internet customer, really want. I hope that it strikes a chord with you also and that much of what I demand overlaps with your own needs.

I attempted to boil down everything into one or two axioms of online customer service, some rules and structure that would bridge the gap between passive and active, giving and receiving, and buying and selling. This is what I found:

1. Honesty.

Nothing negative can connect to an honest message. We may or may not be interested but we will always deal respectfully with honest and forthright material. We have nothing but admiration for those willing to express an important opinion, no matter who may take offense. Conversely, we are sickened by lies, twisted information, and misleading communications. When a plea for disaster donations involves the purchase of something to make a few extra bucks for a sales guru, we recoil in revulsion. When we are promised the universe and delivered an asteroid, we shrink in spirit and goodwill and all of us are diminished. Life is too short and our time too precious to waste it on the snake oil salesmen who will eventually choke on the toxicity of their own wares.

2. Creativity and Novelty.

There are those who constantly create, ideas and products streaming from that black pearl of evolution, the human brain. There are those who destroy what they fear, what they cannot understand, what they cannot have, and what they can never appreciate. And then there is the vast majority between the two extremes, those who consume, badly or responsibly, what others have created.

We need a regular flow of creators to expand our lives and hold back the darkness. We need intelligent consumers to spread the creations of the few throughout the world. The best idea or product is meaningless if no one is aware of it. We need to identify where we fit in - perhaps as a creator in one field, occasionally a destroyer in another, and a consumer most of the time.

Problems arise when we get mixed up in our real role. If I don't create something, then it is not mine. I may market it, sell it, publicize it, but I can't legitimately take credit for its appearance. That is the basis for copyright laws and legal patents. From music to written material to software and products, the Net has struggled with the concept of ownership and its frequent infringement. The online world is so vast and virtually limitless that we are in desperate need for every genuine creator we can find. We need to nurture their genius rather than co-opting and diluting it through misleading intrusion into the works of others.

3. Respect.

If we truly respect each other, the proverbial con job has no place to rear its ugly little head. There is room for everyone because we all whistle a different tune and choose different road to reach disparate destinations.

Within a framework of mutual respect, we no longer encounter winners and losers. We overcome obstacles, solve problems, and forge new answers by working with each other rather than at cross purposes.

Life is a tremendous game. When we play it in such a manner that all can win, we have beaten the game at last.
About the Author
Dr. Bola, a psychologist, sometime marketer, and always enthusiastic consumer offers complimentary copies of her book "Seven Super Simple Tips: I Am Your Customer" from which this article is taken. Enjoy!
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