Integrate online and offline communities for increased stickiness and retention

While e-commerce itself continues to be a nebulous component for many companies, as the demise of so many e-tailing efforts in the past year or so certainly indicates, including the Internet and its Generation Y devotees in an online/offline, clicks-and-bricks marketing mix seems paramount. “I don’t think any industry out there is going to be able to survive going forward without picking up these kids,” Antecol says. “In a relatively few years, they’re going to be their customers, and if they’re not catering to them now, how are they going to know who they are then?”

Wired youth are comfortable using the Web as a two-way communications conduit, for e-mail, instant messaging and chat rooms. They also log on to obtain information about companies and products, including reviews and opinions. Then they go back and share their knowledge and beliefs within their online communities. This creates an opportunity for marketers to establish the types of relationships Antecol believes are critical. (Forrester Research in The Chief Executive March 2002)

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