Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oops! It's probably not Google + "Transpromo." It's probably Amazon.

In an earlier post, I bloviated that Google would be the right people for the vendors to have a conversation. As it rumbled around the head for a bit, I now think the more likely outfit is Amazon.

The reason is that Amazon has a retailer's dna. When Jeff was driving across the country trying to figure out what to do with the internet, he thought of selling stuff, not advertising other people's stuff. Not to get me wrong, advertising with detailed metrics is a very good business. but it's a different business from selling stuff directly.

Bezos did not buy into the "books are dead, dying or disappearing" blablablabla. He decided to start off by selling books. Fast forward to today, Amazon releases the best book reading machine ever invented, except of course for the original codex form on paper. This summer we will see the college textbook killer. The big Kindle connected to Pearson, Wiley and Cengage is the last straw for the $250 text-in-book for college kids.

I'm waiting now to see them join the printernet to do the same for K - 12.

Meanwhile, Amazon has spent the last ten years refining their recommendation engine. It's a very inexpensive and relatively reliable way to cross sell. It's the same thing that good retailers have been doing forever. The new thing is that Amazon does it at internet scale.

"Transpromo" for selling stuff is just cross selling on paper statements. It's been done for years. The difference is that it can be done in real time with powerful analytic tools and it's much cheaper and easier than inserts.

The value prop is a little different from Google Ads. Google is saying "If you are interested in this, you might be interested in that." Amazon is saying " If you bought that, you might want to buy that." Interest is about advertising. Buying is about retail. Interest is hard to measure. Buying is easy to measure.

"Transpromo" is not so much about advertising. It's about data driven cross selling. It's about coupons. It's all the things that the best direct mail professionals have learned with their 10,000 hours of reflective practice.

So probably the correct title for the previous post should have been Probably Amazon, maybe Google and "Transpromo". Why it's the Right idea, but the Wrong Word Told to the Wrong People.

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