Just down the street was an invitation-only gathering of Internet visionaries on Tuesday morning, October 26th at the Yale Club. Sponsored by Primary Knowledge, Kevin O'Connor, CEO, DoubleClick; Rudy Nadilo, CEO, Greenfield Online; Jim Nail, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research; Peter Adams, CEO, Primary Knowledge; and Fred Horowitz, president and CEO of NetGrocer responded to results from a customer survey. Jim Ledbetter, NYBureau Chief of The Industry Standard, led the panel, entitled "e-Customer 2000: Measuring and Maximizing Customer Value in the Digital Century," through the results as they discussed and mused over stats like "76% of respondents think they're being tracked without intentionally submitting information" and that "33% respondents don't submit truthful information."
Before we settled down to this, I chatted with Jennifer Walsh and Julia Hartman of Newspage.com and Jim Nail of Forrester about their recent "marketing systems roadmap" report and powerrankings.forrester.com ranking of top consumer sites. Sitting between Steve Gelsi of CBS Marketplace and Ali Hossaini of OxygenMedia, and I heard some highlights like Kevin O'Connor saying that many times they have to educate clients on what exactly they want to be tracking in addition to the measurements. Jim Nail recounted how during his days at AdSmart, three years ago, they agonized over using cookies, which are a no-brainer for sites today. Regarding the comparison to direct marketing and tracking customers Peter Adams brought up the scenario that if companies were to do offline what we do online, it would be comparable to someone following you around in a store and writing down everything you did in there. (Yikes!) Fred revealed that after seven weeks of advertising a pet-food special in the New York Times, only 20 people used the discount Netgrocer offered. However, the campaign was not a total wash-up as it developed branding, trust and many Pet-related advertisers!