Hurry Up and Get Optimized.
By Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen
Thursday, 17th November 2005
Is your marketing message and medium relevant to your target customer? Is your sales channel optimized for the next generation of Internet surfers searching for innovative ways to be consumers?

The time to have solutions to Online Distribution and ways to measure the results of your online distribution channels is upon us. In addition to the Baby Boomers, there are currently 60 Million Gen Xers and 57 Million Gen Y's out there. Before we examine how to market to them, let's take a moment to understand them.

At ages 25-40, Gen X is at the prime of life in the eyes of the marketers. Gen X consumers are known to be cynical having been exposed to more information via the Internet. They want to carefully evaluate their choices and reach their own purchasing decisions. They are not Brand Loyal so marketing efforts demand cutting edge techniques.

Sometimes known as "Echo Boomers" or the "Millennium Generation," GenY's are considered the largest consumer group in history. Born between 1981 and 1995 the "Y" generation has incomes totaling $211 billion, according to a study from Harris Interactive. So, "waz up" with Y? Marketing to this generation requires using a more sophisticated distribution strategy; remember they grew up with the "pop up" ad and the "Dancing Monkey."

It appears Gen Y's are most attracted to "User Generated Content" sites, ones like myspace.com that allow them to create their own website content. They think email is the way to communicate to adults and they use instant messaging and text messaging as their form of communication with their friends.

Many of you may belong to Gen X or Y and if you don't your children surely do. So is there a simple answer as to how to market to the current and future generations who represent this mass customer base for consumer products and brands?

Integrated Solutions is the answer. Don't be afraid of the Internet as a Marketing medium. Take the best elements across all marketing communication channels; extract the best ways to translate your organic and paid marketing to become a powerful message that speaks to the correct audience.

The key to doing this well is measurement. Website Analytics or "tracking your conversions" to know who exactly your customer is and how they are spending is the next wave in being able to market effectively to Gen X and Y. Why guess what their search and spend habits are if there are tools to show you exactly how to market your business to the audience you are looking to attract?

Let's look back a few years; having a website was what everyone began to feel they needed. The purpose of their website was basically an online brochure. It never crossed our minds that people should have to find it; the website was somewhere that you directed your customers to go. In fact remember saying such things as, "Yes, we have a website! Or address is...www. In fact remember book marking your first sites afraid you would never find sony.com again?

It's hard to believe this archaic behavior was the way we viewed the internet just five years ago. Terms like Google and Broadband were just entering our vocabulary. The last thing anyone was thinking about was the functionality of their site for the user, if the site architecture was optimization friendly for Search Engines and if their site was collecting accurate web analytic information.

Times have changed, however as marketers, there our many of us who haven't. It is not uncommon to have a designer create your website, have a separate SEO work on optimization, and have your Marketing department orchestrate their budget without even thinking of what percentage they are allocating towards online distribution. In fact we see a lot of budgets not only geared toward offline traditional marketing efforts, but focused on unprofitable low return market segments instead of higher revenue generating verticals because that it the way it has always been done!

It is time to prepare your Brand Marketing for the present, the future and beyond by looking at who you are targeting, how you are marketing to them, and whether or not you really know your customer. It is time to make room for the new marketing medium within your traditional marketing mix. It is time to hurry up and get optimized!

About A Couple of Chicks Marketing and Internet Strategy

Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen are the co-founder's of "A Couple of Chicks," an Internet Marketing, Distribution & Revenue Measurement Company. The "Chicks" specialize in using Creative, Distribution and Technology to bring clarity to marketing on-line.

To find out more about A Couple of Chicks Marketing and the tools and services available, visit www.acoupleofchicks.com
or solutions@acoupleofchicks.com

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