e-Business: Like Walking to Kansas


Walking to Kansas

No matter where you live, walking to Kansas begins and ends the same way: one step at time. So, it has puzzled me for years why, if Dorothy knew this, why didn’t more industrial and electrical suppliers start their journey years ago? First in usually wins. Just Start.

F.E.A.R. = False Emotions Avoiding Reality. Technical challenges and fear of change slowed the adoption of e-Commerce. Finally, the industrial supply chain as a whole is reacting. I understand these reasons but don’t buy into them. I learned in the Navy It takes one mile for an aircraft carrier to make a 180-degree turn. Smaller ships can do it in half that distance. Large organizations are Aircraft Carrier’s. Smaller companies are speedboats.

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was invented with 1,000 steps.”

Thomas Edison


Speedboats Get There Faster

This has been a bit disconcerting. In 2005  I was fortunate to be Marketing Director for a distributor of automation and power distribution equipment. We caught the cusp of e-Commerce. I was Employee #33. Today, 13 years later, the company has thousands of employees in several countries. They’re “crushing it”. Now they’re focusing on subject matter content, positioning themselves as an authority on the products they sell. Again, one step ahead.


Fail A Lot

When a reporter asked Thomas Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invented with 1,000 steps.”

Does it make sense to delay the launch, waiting for e-Commerce experts integrate the ERP as you lose even more time? Why not build the catalog, design and deploy the site while integrating the ERP and PIM on a test platform? This may be over-simplification, but it’s working somewhere every day.  I speak with mid-size and large companies who, in December 2017, hadn’t deployed a webstore, and today tell me they are almost “ready to launch”.

 No matter where you live, walking to Kansas begins and ends the same way: one step at time.


Marketing and IT have converged. This has been the central theme of talks I’ve given. The delivery included these 7 cornerstones of e-Business.

  1. Supply Chain Partnering
  2. IT and Marketing Collaboration
  3. Skillset Development
  4. Product Data Enrichment
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Analytics
  7. Business Intelligence.

The underlying message was that the marketer’s tool set has expanded. No limits. Our role in e-Commerce transcends IT, Sales, Operations, Shipping and Purchasing. This is E-Business.

Standing in the Shadow of Sales

To be taken seriously, Digital Marketers step outside our comfort zones. IT, Marketing and Sales have converged around “E-Business”. Digital marketers starting a new job can benefit themselves and the organization by spending time shadowing salespeople. Understand the customer, learn the products, know the customer. Tweeting and blogging can wait.

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