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Internet Marketing: Getting To Maybe

March 23, 2000

Featuring: Jerry Shereshewsky, Direct Yahoo, Yahoo! Inc.

"The Net is different.

…Think different, act different."

At the sold-out March 23 Networking Event, Jerry Shereshewsky of Yahoo! Direct led a lively session on what he termed Net-O-Nomics 101. Most marketers have focused on "getting to yes – the ka-ching moment" he said, and the mistake that many are making is trying this same behavior in the online environment.

Starting with the core of all marketing programs -- reach, frequency and sequence – Jerry first explained that reach in traditional media is actually less expensive than in the online environment. This is because in traditional media advertising displaces content, while in the online environment it co-exists, with buttons and banners subordinent to the content. In addition, there is the element of "intentionality" with the Internet – the prospective customer chooses to go online – which doesn’t exist in traditional media.

Further, while advertising in traditional media is about impact, the Internet is about persuasion – getting the prospective customer to click that button. Because, once someone clicks on the banner or button, both frequency and sequence, Jerry continued, become virtually cost-free, while traditional marketing programs are constrained by the high cost of frequency and the inability to sequence messages.

Given these differences, Jerry went on to explain the Internet Paradigm:

  • The Internet is about Persuasion.
  • Persuasion is based on Permission.

Traditional marketing programs focus on getting customers to "yes "– where ready, willing and able prospects accept a product offer. The secret of Internet marketing, according to Jerry, is getting the customer to "maybe" – the step at which prospective customers grant permission for a dialogue and, possibly, a lifetime relationship. Permission, Jerry said, is a "pre- ka-ching" moment, and is based on self-interest. It is not, he cautioned, a list or ad, although they could be the first steps to permission. It is the "maybe" asset and must be valued. This makes the content strategy of that dialogue critical.

Internet marketing, according to Jerry, is for companies that:

  • Have an allowable
  • Value the customer as an individual
  • Need to eliminate a risk – whether financial, performance or social
  • Have a complex story to tell.

Amazon.com, he explained, understands the power of the Internet and is finding prospective customers first and then products that it can direct to them. He concluded with the advice that Internet marketers, like all marketers, should test everything. If "direct marketing is research on the hoof," he said, "Internet marketing is research on steroids."

 

 

Jerry Shereshewsky, Direct Yahoo!, Yahoo!, Inc.
Jerry Shereshewsky may be the only marketing executive in the burgeoning digital technology field who's invented a new brand of soda pop. Then again, he has been associated with breakthrough marketing ideas in every phase of his distinguished career. In 1981, at the dawn of the modern computer era, Jerry ran the Atari account at ad agency Young & Rubicam. He rose to senior vice president, working on such accounts as General Foods, Frito-Lay, Johnson & Johnson, and Gillette.
As VP/Marketing & Special Products at Bertelsmann Music Group, Jerry ran the company's sales promotion efforts and created one of BMG's first Web sites. During his tenure at direct-response giant Wunderman Worldwide, Jerry developed and launched Gevalia Kaffe for General Foods, the highly successful directly-marketed coffee brand. He even conceived and helped create a soft drink brand, Mello Yello, for the Coca-Cola Company. Jerry also served as a senior vice president at public relations powerhouse Burson-Marstellar.
He helped make Yoyodyne the premier direct marketing promotion company online and made them sooo attractive to Yahoo! that they bought them. Today he is "Apostle to the Gentiles" bringing the Yahoo! message of integrated online direct marketing around the country and the world. He is on the Advisory Board of the Association for Interactive Media (AIM) and on the Board of Directors of The Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where he received his degree in Russian History. Shereshewsky lives in North Salem, NY with his wife Catherine and his two daughters, Beryl and Lexi and two boxers (Bert & Ernie).





 

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