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The 12 Impacts of Technology
On Marketing

by Mark Levit

Over the next ten years, rapidly changing technology will impact most aspects of sales and marketing strategy and management. In particular, the rush to deploy e-business, Web marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions will transform the role of the sales and marketing professional. Managers who persist in "staying with what works" will wind up losing in the long term. The winners of e-marketing will adapt, focus their priorities and investments and lead.

To drive profitable growth, sales and marketing leaders in corporations must:

  • Maximize the return on investment on all sales and marketing investments;
  • Anticipate and capitalize on rapid changes in customer buying behavior;
  • Find ways to leverage interactive, database and network technologies to grow sales;
  • Stay one step ahead of new business models and online competition.  

This means re-allocating the sales and marketing investment mix to fund more high performance Web marketing tools, inventing new business models that "leapfrog" the competition—and rewriting the sales and marketing rules.

A key challenge will be to balance strategic planning with timely action.  Effectiveness in setting and following through on the right business priorities will distinguish sales and marketing leaders from followers.  Leaders will move quickly to take advantage of opportunities like Internet trading communities and distribution through affiliate partnerships—while at the same time anticipating and managing the risks of being "Amazoned" by an online distributor or losing touch with Web savvy customers.

By now, most executives have learned that staying on top of the latest e-business trends is more than a full time job. Leaders need a way to define and prioritize the myriad of challenges they face. To this end, Partners & Levit has identified the 12 ways technology is changing the sales and marketing executive’s job. This list represents our clients and friends, enabling them to quickly pinpoint those impacts that will change their organization and their role in it.  It provides a framework for prioritizing the two or three most critical issues and applying scarce resources to their most pressing e-business problems.         


1. Collaborative Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Organizations must assemble and integrate customer relationship management (CRM) systems that enhance customer collaboration and build customer loyalty and exit barriers.

Right now, technology is affecting your business. Use it to your advantage. Partners & Levit can guide you through the process, step-by-step. For more information, contact our Managing Partner, Mark Levit at 212.696.1200 now!

4. Operationalizing Customer Care: Organizations must adopt enterprise-wide management of the customer care processes to ensure seamless service and enhanced intimacy across multiple channel interfaces and throughout the customer lifecycle..

5. Hybrid Distribution Systems: Organizations must build multichannel, hybrid distribution systems that leverage low-cost, high-touch technologies to improve cost efficiency, market coverage and overall selling performance.

6. Value-added Direct Sales: Organizations must migrate the role of direct sales to better align high-touch, face-to-face selling interactions with high-value and high-margin products and services.

7. Demand Chain Remediation: Organizations must restructure demand chain relationships to maximize value creation and customer access while leveraging costs and value-added channel partnerships.

8. Customer Interaction Centers: Organizations must consolidate and integrate call centers, Web, e-mail, fax and marketing technology assets to better manage selling resources, technology infrastructure and customer interactions.

9. Product Channel Readiness: Organizations must design modular, "channel-ready" products optimized for specific sales channels, partners and customer segments, improving personalization, ease of doing business and transaction costs.

10. Dynamic Pricing & Trading: Organizations must creatively manage the impact of buy- and sell-side technologies and trading communities on margins and pricing.

11. Changing Role of Branding: Organizations must aggressively build brand equity in e-channels, virtual communities and across multiple selling partners, channels and points of interaction (POI).

12. Interactive Direct Marketing: Organizations must deploy new tools, approaches and strategies for anticipating or influencing the way customers buy.

Organizations trying to move a significant portion of customer interaction to the Web must think about the practice of delivering customer service online (i.e., e-care), while those selling simple or commodity products would be wise to focus on understanding how new online distributors (flourishing as a result of demand chain remediation) and new pricing models (i.e., dynamic pricing and trading communities) will change their business. Ultimately, grappling with these 12 impacts must lead sales and marketing executives to embrace rapid decision-making and strategic action.

2. Outsourcing Sales and Marketing Functions: Organizations must strategically outsource sales & marketing budgets to a new generation of businesses, including advertising agencies, e-commerce utilities and service providers, and e-channel partners to obtain talent, technical expertise and cost efficiencies.

3. Customer-centric Organizations: Organizations must recast their familiar organizational and functional models, transforming them into a natural extension of customer segmentation, enterprise selling processes and complex demand chain partnerships.

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