In my first post, I was asked about spam and how ECM can help with it. If you are not familiar with the term spam, it is any information which is delivered to you which you don’t really care to know. Today, email servers’ administrators/providers are doing a good job preventing spam from filling inboxes, compared to a few years ago; but regular mailboxes are still defenseless against spam attacks. Even worse, companies keep printing hundreds of postcards and coupons that in 90% of the case end up in a shredder or waste can. I believe that ECM can help with this problem.
In the digital world, Amazon is a good example of a personalized website. Even though it is not perfect, every time you log into Amazon they show products similar to your previous searches. Similarly, in our traditional mail system, if I get a catalog in the mail that is related to what I buy, it is more probable that I will look at it at least once before I throw it in the trash.
It is common knowledge that offering the the right product to the right person at the right time is key when closing the sale; even when you are just trying to upgrade your customer. For example, I have a few friends who are not interested in the candy and magazines next to the cashier at the supermarket, but when they go to the vitamin shop at the gym they cannot help but grab an extra energy bar. Wouldn’t be great if the products at the register change depending on what one usually buys just like it happens on Amazon.com? “People who bought this product also bought…”
Now, I go to my corner store once a week and buy milk A, I really like milk A, but I would be willing to try brand B if I get a coupon when I’m about to grab the milk from the fridge (Just In Time or JIT). Well, maybe at the fridge it’s too much to ask, but if they know that all I buy is milk and cereal why do I keep getting coupons for meat and vegetables in the mail from my grocer (A.K.A. spam)?
Online stores are using ECM or WCM to achieve JIT; and that’s why I have few questions: How far is the corner store from getting these results? When are our ‘paper mailboxes’ going to be spam-free? Do marketing people really believe that consumers should be bombarded with advertisement until they buy something? I really hope not! As an ECM specialist I would like to help marketing find more efficient ways to reach their traditional (non Internet) audience. After all, those coupons were printed from a digital source, and they have access to digital data bases. What do you think? Am I asking too much?