The Times They Are A-Changin'

December 18, 2006

In college I studied economics, so my textbooks never mentioned the "Four P's" that the marketing students were reading about. This didn't stop me, though, from plunging head-first into marketing in one of my first jobs after graduation. Within little time I had been introduced to the roles of product, price, place, and promotion in the so-called "marketing mix".

Much of what we do at Digett falls squarely within the realm of "promotion". To illustrate, we don't often become deeply involved with our clients' decisions regarding the pricing of their products. We are more likely to concern ourselves with how to communicate (i.e., "promotion") the benefits of a product than we are with decisions about product development. We are, however, finding ourselves more and more concerned about factors that relate to the concept of "place".

In a most simplistic explanation, "place" might refer to the location of a retail store. We've all heard the phrase "location, location, location". The concept of "place" actually goes much farther than a business' location, extending into decisions regarding distribution and other topics. However, as far as a retailer is concerned, the element of location remains vitally important. But what about an online retailer? Is location much of an issue?

Consider the importance of a store's location. Why does it matter? It matters because locating a store along my daily commute means less drive time for me. It matters because a good location makes my life easier. It matters because I'm lazy, stressed and short on time, and a good location makes it easy for me to buy.

Making it easy for people to buy is a frequent challenge for the team at Digett. Whether we are helping clients sell concert tickets and t-shirts, lodging reservations or fine wine, the concept of "place" is more important -- not less -- than ever because of the internet. Since a different shopping experience is no farther than away than my browser's address bar, I'm looking for, among other things, an easy buying experience. If I don't find it on one web site there's a chance I can find it on another.

Ease of buying often involves the most minute details of a web site, and it is often the details that demand the most of a site's development budget and a development team's expertise. So it's no surprise that many web efforts fall short of addressing these details. Can I not only purchase my tickets online, but will the checkout process be seamless and intuitive? Can I get instant feedback on whether you have a room available for a future date? Can I be notified when my shipment of wine is in transit so I can make arrangements for proper storage?

At one time a web site alone might have helped set your business apart from your competition. But as one of my favorite song writers once said, the times they are a-changin'. How 'bout you? Are you changin' with the times?