November 20, 2007

Does marketing feed into strategy? Or is it the other way around?

I was on Seth Godin's blog and noticed his post on Thinking about
and just one line in an otherwise perfect, struck a discordant note.

"One last bit of backward thinking: if you're looking to start an online business, consider finding a great domain and build the business around it, not the other way around."

The key thought behind the post was to emphasize the importance of domain names. Though I don't dispute their importance, it is a stretch to suggest that online businesses should revolve around available domain names ie. search for available domain names and then build businesses around them.

How can one decide business strategy on the basis of marketing elements? Conventional theory suggests that Strategy feeds into Marketing and not the other way around. So I might decide to be in the online auction space and decide to call myself ebay, but will I decide to be an online auction just on the availability of a domain name?

Just assuming businesses are a little more complicated than that.

Nonetheless it is acceptable that entrepreneurs who are exploring opportunities at starting up in the online space, book domain names prior to finalizing their plan (or even start working on it). But booking domain names in the absence of a thought seems like shooting in the dark.

A website needs a lot of ingredients to be successful and the domain name is just one of them.

Let me reiterate, I am not undermining the importance of the domain name. It is equivalent to the brand name of a product in the offline space. Unlike brands in the offline space where the "first moment of truth" could be through packaging, ambience or even tasting the product, an online portal depends on its domain name (it has to be typed or clicked before the portal can be experienced in any way).

The question that begs to be answered is a larger one actually and I thank Seth for instigating this thought. According to this report, more than 47 million .com domain names have been booked already. Hence its highly probable that you are unable to find your ideal domain name.

So, Is the absence of a great domain name the end of the road for your business? Or do trends suggest that there is hope still.

Give me some time to research some trends before I answer that one, the last time I tried to answer it with insufficient research, I faced some serious flak from the blogger community. I apologise to every one of them. In my overenthusiastic attempt to try and see if imperfect domain names will work, and initial research suggesting that it was indeed possible, I wrongly concluded that domain names could be becoming irrelevant. I couldn't have been more wrong and I am thankful to everyone who pointed it out. The domain name is one of the many ingredients for success. A good name always aids success.

I have since taken that post off this blog since I don't believe in it anymore. I am hoping that the next few posts will correct some of the wrong.

So please hold on until my next post. I hope to throw larger clarity on this issue.

1 comment:

LowCost said...

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Well this is the way people perceive.