This year’s Marketing Forum on board the Oriana was dominated by
e-commerce, with the bulk of the seminars and meetings taking the online
revolution as their theme.
Dr Simon Murdoch, the entrepreneur and former managing director of
Amazon.co.uk, kicked off the event with a state-of-the-nation talk about
e-commerce and, at the same time, put his money where his mouth was by
revealing that his next career move would be to launch a venture capital
company to fund e-commerce start-ups.
In his talk, Murdoch stressed the value of word-of-mouth recommendation
and giving e-trading sites local appeal - hence the introduction of
Amazon.co.uk, rather than trading in the UK as Amazon.com.
The overwhelming message - not only in Murdoch’s seminar but in the
myriad of other e-themed sessions - was that e-commerce would lose its
specialist title and soon just be called commerce. The advantages to
trading on the internet were made clear, from the ease of mining for
customer information to the decreased overheads that it brings.
The theme continued in a seminar given by David Atter, sales and
marketing director of beeb.com, Laurence Bradley, BT’s head of
cross-business solutions, and Chris Little, the managing partner of the
Customer Hub, a strategic consultancy.
Atter issued a call to arms to advertisers and agencies to make web
content more compelling and personal if they are to spearhead the
He also warned that the rise of supermarket home shopping over the
internet was a threat to FMCG advertisers because shoppers are likely to
click on the same shopping basket week after week rather than looking
around for different brands.
Bradley hit out at companies that were complacent in converting browsers
on their websites into shoppers, explaining that only one-third of
browsers make it through to the checkout.
Overall, delegates were urged to pay more heed to the e-commerce
revolution and, in order to do so, to cannibalise their existing
Charles Schwab was cited as an example of a company that had cast off
its telephone-oriented customer base in order to convert its audience to