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*The Dot-Com Demise is DM’s Opportunity

The recent “demise” on Wall Street crippled the dot-com community, and consequently raised many opportunities for traditional marketers, said Mary Modahl, vice president of research at Forrester Research, here at the Direct Marketing Association’s net.marketing fall show.

“While reckless dot-coms were crashing,” Modahl said, “significant opportunities were opening for traditional businesses.”

Online sales this year have surpassed Forrester Research projections, and traditional companies using the Web are reaping the benefits, she said. Online sales are expected to reach $44 billion this year, she reported.

“Online retailing turns out to be more about selling than the Internet itself,” Modahl said.

Traditional marketers are succeeding online, in part, because they have built multichannel relationships with their customers, Modahl said. For example, J.C. Penney, Dallas, has developed three shopping channels — Web, catalogs and their bricks-and-mortar locations — she said.

Dot-coms, meanwhile, are struggling to provide their customers with a physical presence, she said.

Traditional businesses are beating out dot-coms online because of branding. “Dot-coms are having a hard time branding because they all sound the same,” she said. “Consumers are getting a very different message.”

Venture capitalists, Modahl added, are more likely to invest in well-branded companies because branded companies build better consumer contacts.

Traditional marketers and dot-coms alike, however, must prepare for different types of customers in the near future, Modahl said. There are about 35 million shoppers online, for example, and women have so far accounted for more than half of all new buyers this year, she said.

The market for younger online shoppers is rapidly growing as well, Modahl said. Marketers should focus on the younger online customer because that demographic has “an affinity” with the Web and will come into their “economic maturity” while shopping on the Internet, she said.

“Adults tend to adopt the Web while younger customers seem to internalize it,” she said.

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