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The Net Can Even Make Irritating Industries Exciting

I really love the transformative and disruptive qualities of the Internet. Again yesterday I was reminded of how significant the impacts of this creation will be when I met “a company”: that is transforming the traditional and downright irritating industry of paper flyers.
Think about it. You come home every day to see your mailbox overflowing with flyers stuffed there haphazardly by the local flyer kid. Easily ninety percent of it is not relevant and even within the ten percent that may be, only half of that has any immediate actionable value. Then what? You cut them out and pin them up somewhere until you can go to the store in question. It all seems very inefficient and wasteful, an industry ripe for disruption.
Enter said new company, “ICM Group”:
They are approaching all of these flyer producers and telling them that “their technology”: will take the same print file that they would send to the print shop and break it down into data and graphic elements, create a data table, and then dynamically create a flyer website. Presto! With no extra work, the flyer company has the beginnings of an online strategy.
But wait, there’s more. Because said company has now turned the paper flyer into data, the consumer can now actually sort or search through what they want and act on the flyer offer by clicking on an item of interest to find out more or take action. Who knows, some people might even be willing to build a changeable profile of their interests which could be mapped to offers and alerts. Whammo! You have instant e-commerce.
But wait, we are not done yet.

While it is cool to transform physical flyers to e-commerce sites, if your target market doesn’t know where you are on the web or what you have on offer then it doesn’t really solve the industry’s inefficiency. The reason these companies engage in the irritating practice of jamming my home mailbox with flyers is to create awareness.
So here’s the truly transformative part of what these guys are using to Internet to enable. Enter the new release of their software which will map the databases they are creating from printed flyers to the marketing backbone for the web; banner ads and search words. So now “two for one” pantyhose at Store X in Toronto and “half priced” garden hoses in Store Y in Vancouver can be quickly and inexpensively turned into the localized ad and offer content so highly desired by search engines and portal sites. Ok, someone say “Wow!”.
So, what’s the recipe for industry transformation? Take inefficient traditional industry. Add technology smarts. Leverage the power of the Internet. And Kablam! Even an irritating industry can be exciting.
Makes me wish I thought of it first.

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