Friday, February 16, 2007

What's going on in retail

Welcome to my new blog. I am Debra Zahay, the Acxiom Corporation Professor of Interactive Marketing at Northern Illinois University. We train hundreds of marketing majors each year in principles of direct and interactive marketing, including SEO and SEM, e-business principles, web design and the like. We have the largest undergraduate marketing program in the State of Illinois and over 400 marketing majors. Each week I will share with you some of the information that I am passing along in my classes and my comments on internet and direct marekting trends. If you have any questions about the program, contact me at 815-753-6215 or email me at

This week:

According to a Nielson Net ratings webinar yesterday, there was over a 20% increase in retail Christmas traffic on the internet over last year, with the growth rate in the prime Thanksgiving holiday week of over 100%! Contrast this growth rate with a mere 4.4% growth in Holiday Spending as reported by the National Retail Federation and we can start to see how important the internet will continue to be as a marketing channel. Most of the growth in holiday spending was in multichannel retailing, so integrating online and offline strategies, like we do in my internet marketing course at NIU, continues to be paramount.

Also, I was recently quoted in Info Week on search engine and branding and mentioned that some brands, like Wal-Mart, continue to pull traffic even if they might not be search engine optimized. Indeed, this year Wal-Mart eclipsed for holiday traffic spending. The point is not to ignore SEO but to also work on traditional marketing concepts such as differentiation and branding.
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