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Is the Internet the next Thomas Register?

or am I grasping at Internet straws?

     
2:04 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I work in the industrial equipment sector where years ago everyone had a copy of the "Thomas Register" to help them find suppliers. Today, I think engineers and specifiers are going to the Internet first when they are looking to buy. Still, the naysayers in my company are very strong; I cannot get them to pull even a small amount of money out of traditional advertising (trade magazine ads & trade shows) to spend on our website. They will not even allow me to dedicate a portion of my time to optimizing and improving our website. Don't get me wrong, our current website isn't absolutely horrible, but I personally believe that search engine optimization and improvement of website content can make a big impact on its performance. The bottom line is that you cannot overlook the fact that the Internet is becoming the first point of contact with the customer. Eventually someone is going to figure out how to get people to buy through that little 15" screen. Perhaps it'll be by building online communities, perhaps it will be by improved product visualization, perhaps it will be something else. Are they wrong or am I crazy?
2:15 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Their definitely wrong. Or at least very stubborn.

I cant comment on how crazy you are though! ;)

It will be a while before everyone is buying online, but it is only good sense these days to devote a part of a marketing budget to your website.

However, spending money on the site isnt that important (domain name - check!, hosting - check!, thats it!), so you should push for spending a bit of time optimising the site (ask for a few hours a week and say youll show them improved results over the next few months).

JOAT

2:19 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The Thomas Register printed distribution has been more than halved over the last 4 years, that should tell you something.
3:47 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>Thomas Register printed distribution has been more than halved

I used to buy a set for our wholesale distributorship ...no need any more. The only concern is how "old school" your potential client base might be. If the initial product search and contact is made by 55-ish purchasing agents, then you may need to stay with TR for a few more years, but your company should definitely be starting a transition plan which includes a detailed website.

One thing I'd add to your own site right away would be a detailed line card ...nothing fancy, just a good product description.

4:05 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>I work in the industrial equipment sector

I had a client in the same sector, in 2 years their Internet sales overtook the traditional sales.

4:25 pm on Nov 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Take a look at your weblogs. Do your customers show up? If you feel this activity is biased downwards by the nature of your current site, see if you can get this information from published articles, non-competitors in your industry, etc.
5:22 am on Nov 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think that Thomas Register is a good analogy to the web. I very rarely if ever open the Yellow Pages anymore, choosing instead my trusty search engine.

The way I sell a website is to explain that this is your retail store open 24 hours a day in every country on earth. It's also a magazine which needs to be updated regularly and not let get stale.

It's definitely an advertising medium, but it is one of many.

10:56 pm on Nov 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It has already happened....design engineers according to a new Design News survey have increased the use of search engines seven fold! Where did these engineers come from? and Google reports that Google handles 50 million design engineer related queries every 6 month...where did they come from? where else? Thomas Register!
 

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