The Most Powerful Word in Ecommerce Marketing


The word ‘no’ is perhaps the most powerful marketing tool available for ecommerce owners and traders. When used correctly, the word “no” emphasizes planning, encourages making good choices, offers freedom and control, and recognizes that every e-commerce business, large or small, has limits.

In some cases, “no” will be applied to good ideas or good marketing tactics, but when that happens it is at its best.

An example of “no” in action

Take the case of a multi-channel retailer in the Northwestern United States. On October 21, this retailer began work on a promotional flyer that would be distributed to a quarter of a million potential customers just before the end of the Christmas shopping season with the aim of enticing shoppers to visit online stores. and physical aspects of the business. . The flyer had gone through two proofs and was about three days away from final approval, when a new marketing opportunity presented itself.

A salesperson, whose products were already featured in the promotional flyer, posted a somewhat enticing new offer. If a customer bought $ 150 of the seller’s product, they would receive a $ 25 online gift card from a popular entertainment site. The seller was aware of the merchant’s upcoming flyer and wanted this new offer to appear. The seller even offered to pay the cooperative, which means that they would cover part of the cost of producing the flyer. But the merchant said, “No. “

As good as the offer was, the merchant hadn’t foreseen it. There were questions about how the online gift card would be distributed. How customers would react to the offer and whether the offer was best suited to attract shoppers to the store, which was the purpose of the promotional flyer, or to encourage shoppers to spend more.

“No” emphasizes planning

Saying “no” to certain marketing campaigns and tactics will help an online retailer focus on marketing planning.

Good marketing starts with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound business goals. Next, a marketer will develop a series of actions or tactics aimed at achieving those business goals. Once a comprehensive marketing plan is in place, the word “no” should be used frequently to prevent changes to that plan and to avoid refocusing efforts on anything other than the underlying business goals.

In the case of the promotional flyer mentioned above, the business objective was to encourage shoppers to visit the retailer’s stores both online and offline. But the offer was focused on increasing the size of an individual order. While this is certainly a laudable goal for any Internet retailer, it was not the desired effect. Saying “no” showed that the trader was emphasizing planning and goal setting.

“No” encourages choices

Applying the word “no” to a particular marketing campaign, ad offering, or even a business objective reinforces the idea that online marketers have a choice. It might seem a bit obvious, but in almost any small or medium business, you can find examples of a marketing department doing things just to appeal to a particular owner, seller, or even a particular customer. This is because this marketing department does things because somehow their marketers don’t feel like they have a choice.

In the promotional flyer example, a seller told the retailer that he wanted his offer to appear in the flyer and even said he would pay part of the cost, but the merchant demonstrated that he still had choice. The merchant said “no”.

“No” offers a measure of freedom

In 2011, Carmine Gallo, communication coach, wrote an excellent article in Forbes entitled “Steve Jobs: Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff”. In the article, Gallo described a conversation between iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs and Nike CEO Mark Parker.

“Do you have any advice?” Parker asked Jobs. “Well, just one thing,” Jobs said. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products you covet. But you also do a lot of bullshit. Just get rid of the shitty stuff and focus on the good stuff. Parker said Jobs took a break and Parker filled the silence with a chuckle. But Jobs didn’t laugh. He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” Parker said. “We had to edit.”

Think about this story alongside another piece of wisdom from Jobs.

“People think that focusing means saying yes to the thing you need to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It is to say no to the hundred other good ideas which exist. You have to choose carefully. In fact, I’m just as proud of the things we didn’t do as I am of the things I did. Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things.

The point is, using “no” means you have the freedom to say “yes” to those things that can really improve your business.

“No” recognizes that you have limits

If an Internet retailer has unlimited resources both in terms of time and money, there really would be no need to say “no” to one marketing tactic over another, but the ultimate reason why the ‘no’ is so powerful in marketing that it recognizes that every marketing department and every e-commerce business has limits.

Saying “no” to something is saying “yes” to a goal, campaign, or tactic that will best serve the business with limited staff and money.

Saying “no” emphasizes planning, encourages making good choices, offers the freedom to innovate, and recognizes that every business has resource limits. Together, these concepts make ‘no’ one of the most powerful words in a marketer’s vocabulary.


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