I tripped over the Internet in 1993 and saw the first beta of Mosaic hit the screen. I immediately started waving my arms about the amazing impact this new technology would have on marketing. I’ve been doing so ever since and boy, are my arms tired.
In 1994, I wrote the first edition of World Wide Web Marketing, (Wiley & Sons, 1995) explaining how the world had changed and how to take advantage of it.
The last chapter of that book was called, “Looking Toward the Future” and, as I look back at my impressions of the world-to-come, I am struck by how impressed we were (I was) with what is now some painfully rudimentary technology. I extolled the virtues of, among other things:
Then I started making things up, describing what I knew would happen.
I gushed over the prospect that a “hot link” cut and pasted from an e-mail message into a word processing document, would still be hot! I repeated a vision from Arthur C. Clark that a child, at the beach, would be able to ask his wristwatch questions about a hermit crab, get verbal replies and this will be considered “school”.
I then launched into a scenario about a conversation between my mother the interior decorator collaborating with her architect colleague. The scene included shared architectural drawings, voice-activated wall coloring and automated bill-of-materials sourcing.
- Then I expounded on the Future of Marketing with more what-ifs, staring with internal processes:
- What if you could post schedules that both you and product development could update?
- What if weekly manufacturing production forecasts were updated daily?
- What if you could post a piece of collateral for the legal department to mark up?
- What if the Web front-ended order processing, sales forecasting, cross-brand planning?
- What if demand for collateral from Sales could be downloaded and printed locally?
- What if competitive data, and qualification and objection handling guides were always online?
- What if template electronic presentations could be modified on the fly?
- What if electronic presentations could be interactively delivered online?
- What if customers could walk thought electronic presentation on their own, at any time?
- What if customers could view your stock on hand?
- What if customers could place their orders online?
- What if customers could access instantaneous intelligence about the status of their orders?
- What if customers could track their deliveries?
- What if customers could provide feedback at every turn?
“The company with the most freely available information wins.”
“The customer will become part of the process and, through their suggestions, help shape the process.”