November 24th, 2004 by Bob Bly
I know a lot of the brightest marketing minds in the world, and Don Libey is certainly one of the top five, in my humble opinion.
So, not being a big branding guy myself, I enjoyed the latest issue of Don?s ?Secrets of the Catalog Master? bulletin, published by list broker Merit Direct.
In it, he basically says that branding is dead or dying on the Internet, being replaced by (what else?) ROI-producing direct marketing ? driven by Google.
Don says, ?Buying is no longer a matter of who [the brand or reputation of the seller] ? Shopping is a matter of word description. In other words, I will no longer associate buying pears with Harry & David.
?Instead, I will associate buying pears with the words ?pear? or ?fruit? or ?gourmet pears? or any of 58 other words or word combinations.?
He also credits E-bay with diminishing the important of online merchant reputation — as millions of people are sending money to other people they?ve never heard of and have no reason to trust simply because these sellers have a five-star rating on E-bay.
Don calls this kind of buying ?thought-activated word shopping? and says it is replacing branding in importance for consumers.
I imagine you branding folks out there are cringing, and you search engine optimization guys are cheering. I?m not at all convinced that Don is right. What do you think?
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