Brand marketers can target consumers better by linking their World Wide Web sites to those of grocery chains that offer home delivery, according to a Duke University professor who is an expert on the Internet. "There's a natural marriage between the on-line ordering places, and the brand managers of packaged goods companies," said John McCann of the Faqua School of Business. "In a way, the stores become the media. And the point at which we interact with the stores is the media. There are strong implications for comarketing," McCann told Brand Marketing in a follow-up interview to his keynote presentation on the Internet at a conference in New York in March. The event, called Marketing for the New Millennium, was sponsored by the Promotion Marketing Association of America, New York. According to McCann, retailers have considerable power because "they aggregate individuals, so they're reachable." In other words, if consumers are ordering groceries, the retailer knows who they are and their address, and can create a data base. "If you're in the buying mode, and there's a sweepstakes, but in order to register for the sweepstakes, you've got to go to the Procter & Gamble site, then you would hit the link," he said.
Then both trading partners have the individual, and the transaction, he explained. "You can get to the Internet through America Online and you come to the Procter & Gamble site, but P&G doesn't know who you are. All they know is that you are somebody who has logged on to AOL,' said McCann.
"I don't know that Procter & Gamble can get them to visit the P&G site without first visiting [a grocery ordering] site," he said. That notion is not stopping P&G from going on-line in a big way. News of its on-line plans appeared two weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal. The Cincinnati-based consumer products giant has registered 80 "domains" or sites on the Internet.