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Welcome to eCommerce Night!

NOTICE: This blog post is being shown to a live audience at mag:net cafe, Bonifacio High Street. As Andrian Lee did not allow any of the panel tonight to bring any form of presentation, I’d like to cheat a little bit and use this blog to post up a few thoughts about eCommerce and social media in the Philippines. Note that I’m no guru in this sort of thing so I approach eCommerce from the perspective of someone who’s been mostly in the publishing industry most of his professional life.

eCommerce, or the activity of buying and selling on the Internets has been around for a long time, but why are companies in the Philippines so afraid to take this up, when in fact it is the cheaper, easier and more convenient way of moving certain types of products? eCommerce makes so much sense, it makes multi level marketing done right look complicated.

JC Medina, the other panelist and myself are now up on stage, and supposed to talk about social networking and eCommerce. I’m chatting with him right now (while I’m writing this – but I’m also probably talking to him now on the bar stool) and we’re actually figuring out what exactly should we say.

So I decided to write up a short piece on the art of the soft sell and social networking.

Does hard selling really work today? Most companies in the Philippines are taking the more affordable route of pulling their marketing into the online space. As they don’t have the resources to place a billboard ad along Guadalupe, they seem to prefer using these things called “blogs” as a means to send off press releases and campaigns. Now I was never one for getting paid to post something – in fact the only time I did accept payment for posting was with the first launch of ReviewMe. I’ve stopped since then because it kinda felt cheap, like I’m being paid to write about something I don’t really believe in. But that’s just me. Bloggers, from my experience would rather sit through a great press conference and write about what struck them most. By “great” I mean something worth writing about – whether it be a worthy advocacy even with a PR plan “hidden” behind it, or that tailored coat the CEO was wearing during the press con (hello, fashion bloggers!).

I was asking Andrian what type of people would be coming tonight and was hoping that it wouldn’t be the same old choir whom we all seem to preach to. Sometimes it seems that we’re preaching to the church choir, having the same guys come over to talk about eCommerce to those who are already in the industry.

To those if you who are new, well, hello there! How’s the bottom line?

My simple theorem is this. If you’re a traditional company who’s used to advertising with mainstream media, welcome to the social … networking online. Blogs and podcasts are the new mainstream media for those who can afford – and who are probably interested in your product offerings. Blogs are the new magazines and podcasts are the new TV and radio – not that they will replace traditional mainstream media, but these are probably the medium most appreciated by your target market – for those who are here tonight. These are your new “allies” (I use the word allies loosely) in your soft sell campaigns.

I hope you meet lots and lots of people tonight from Andrian’s team and from other eCommerce hubs. Enjoy the drinks and the food!

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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