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Are you putting technology before your customers?

Which is more important the technology or the customer?

The one thing about the online world you can be sure of is change.
It seems like every day there is a new technology being added
which will make the internet more accessible.
As online marketers, we strive to keep up with all these trends
and incorporate them into our marketing arsenals.

Going back to when the internet started, it was a bit of a nerdy
place to be, with lots of people communicating in text only.
Some savvy individuals saw how this growing community could be
exploited and used to advertise their wares, and with all the
hyperlinking joining them to other sites they could be easily

Then the world wide web evolved from the basic internet adding
pictures and multimedia and eventually adding videos too, and
it became even more useful to marketing. Added in with email
which made it possible to reach a large audience at low cost
the web became irresistable to businesses.

Each step forward brings with it even more opportunities for
us online entrepreneurs to get our messages seen.

But as it marches on into new technologies are we all missing
the point somewhat?

We all need our ads to be seen, but often we seem to be spending
more time wrestling with new technology than actually working.
Everyone is jumping on the blogging bandwagon at the moment
and offering xml and rss feeds to get their messages out.

Flash video, along with audio, and video streams is also being
used extensively, and often unneccessarily to market products.

But even more alarming is the reliance some people are placing
on this new technology, to the point of abandoning traditional
email and websites.

Let me relate this recent story which actually happened.

I received a newsletter which I read regularly, and
like many others the owner was having problems with getting
his email newsletter through spam filters. Like many newsletter
publishers he had decided to publish his newsletter as a webpage.
He started sending out regular emails when the newsletter was
available, and including the link to read it. All ok so far.

It was shortly afterwards I received an update from this newsletter
telling me that it would no longer be available as a web page, but
would now be an rss feed only. And telling me if I wanted to carry
on reading I should download some software to do so.

Whoa, backtrack there.

Your subscribers can only read your newsletter if they download
some extra software and learn how to use it?

I emailed the owner to point out that I thought it was a bad idea.
You want your subscribers to stick with you, make it easy for them,
the reply I got was that I should join the 21st century, if I wanted
to read his newsletter he would tell me how I should do it.

No I don't want to read it that bad thanks anyway.

So before you go running headlong into the latest technological
marvels of the internet, think about what your customers need.
Do they have the latest greatest browser to view your latest greatest
multimedia masterpiece?
Will they need to download some extra software just to view your

Subscribers are humans too you know, and as humans they are fickle
creatures. They will stick with you while the goings good and easy
but make them work to stay with your newsletter and you're history
as there are plenty more good newsletters they can get free.

Flashy animations, and new technology can be impressive, but
put your customers first, and use the technology only if it helps

Doug Titchmarsh

About the Author
Doug Titchmarsh runs several sites including and and publishes
an e-zine for marketers online and off
which you can get by sending an email to