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The Seven Imperatives for Outsmarting the Competition

As the deepening and maturing roots of the Internet are about to grab, shake, and take hold of businesses and individuals like never before, organizations willing to undergo the close self scrutiny involved in becoming “Netted” will be the winners in the Net Future. In this book, the authors examine the implications of the E-business revolution, or the “Netting”, of the entire value chain to reveal the new convergence between the digital and physical environments that will redefine all business models and essentially transform the very notion of the corporation.

With this evolution of the commercial Net comes the transition to the new personalized marketing. Evolved into a new paradigm, the marketing concepts of the 1980’s become Max-e-Marketing of the Net economy, shifting traditional managerial mindsets into new value-adding approaches that dictate the willingness to truly care about the customer and enable him/her to uncover new possibilities of what might be. In entering this new Digital Era, companies will come to recognize that perhaps the greatest value-creating virtue is to enable customers to give wings to their imaginations.

Max-e-marketing applications will thus provide a clear path to profitability through the use of info tech solutions that will drive appropriate and effective interactive

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communication with targeted prospects and customers both online and offline. The authors offer seven imperatives to change, which balance keen observations of the current state in many organizations with what it will take to enable any organization to be net-ready. Each imperative is significant by itself. Together, they define the ultimate in end-to-end electronic business.

Together, they comprise the Net Future. A company’s grasp of these seven flexible strategies, and its consequent willingness to transform its business will determine how well it survives in the Net economy. The first Max-e-Marketing imperative explores the ways in which companies can use the behavioral and demographic information gained through direct interaction with customers online and offline to take full advantage of the possibilities for establishing responsive relationships with each customer individually.

By changing the direction of the flow of information in the organization, and using knowledge throughout the buying cycle, companies can determine how customer and market data can be managed and used effectively to maximize sales and profits. The second imperative suggests the fusion of products and services into a pre-emptive offering that will differentiate the company’s selling idea in a commoditized marketplace. This approach will help the company focus on deepening relationships with customers, while at the same time repositioning what they offer in the eyes of those customers.

Companies benefiting from the third imperative apply customer knowledge to each customer interaction with the help of customer-care applications, to provide a unique experience for each customer. Delivering a pleasing experience, in turn, can help build and customize unique relationships between a company and its customers. Imperative four dictates that companies should capitalize on the hard work of those who choose to specialize in each vital module of the business, such as business partners, suppliers, distributors, and even end users.

This will allow the company to move more quickly in the marketing environment, take advantage of highly specialized expertise in many different areas of new technology, and profit from selling what it does best to others. Imperative five stresses that organizations should increasingly use interactive process technology, such as e-system architecture and customer-care software, to create advantage not only for themselves but also for the alliances they form. In the Net Future, as the process indeed becomes the message, it becomes possible to provide customers with a unique brand experience and move to a new net-version of customer centric.

As companies interact directly with the end user and with their business customers, in turn, today’s brand experience more and more will determine tomorrow’s business ranking, as imperative six details. What companies do to, for, and with their customers must be aimed at promoting brand equity but most importantly it should be aimed at building the future aggregate value of its customers because that value determines the value of the company. The last imperative supports that cultural changes necessary to mesh online with offline strategies will be substantial in the Net economy, and a primary concern for management in the foreseeable future.

To that end, a new partnership between IT and Marketing will be formed that will create value for both the organization and the customer. These seven trends of the Net economy need to be viewed together, like a circle. Companies that capitalize on these trends of the Net future can electronically organize themselves into E-businesses in a circle around the customer. Those organizations will be the winners because in the Net future, the circle will be complete. ANALYSIS Coming is a world linked by fast, cheap communication, where speed is key, access to the network is ubiquitous, and virtually every business and individual is affected.

This linkage, enabled by technology will redefine the way we function at work, at home, and in the marketplace. The opportunity for those who capitalize on this environment will be enormous- as will the risk for those who don’t. The authors thus support that surviving in the Net Future involves essentially reinventing corporate cultures and re-evaluating strategies based on real time knowledge about customers. The central challenge, therefore, is to put people ahead of time and create distinctive value by enabling them to pursue the impossible. This indeed embodies the vital principle of the Digital Era.

The authors illustrate the key points with provocative and exciting details from a broad range of businesses and industries. Moreover, in discussing techniques, which include product, market as well as business process transformation, the authors ensure that their arguments are valid, consistent, and logical, and that conclusions follow from the premises. In addition, the authors provide accurate and fairly interpreted information on the new idea of customer-centric in the networked environment, which, in my view, is the main premise that underlies all arguments in the book.

As Martin and Rapp accurately contend, companies have been talking about being customer-driven for years. Of course, every company and most executives have a different vision of what that means. The process has been a relatively static one, based on a snapshot of customer behavior at a given time, or a series of such snapshots over time. The authors argue that in the Net Future, the customer really can get into the driver’s seat, if the producers of products and services are willing to sit in back. And evidence provided in this book supports that the customers actually will drive the business on behalf of the producing company.

It is this reversal of the balance of power- as well as the companies who leverage this 180-degree shift in power- that will drive the Net Future. New ways of buying and selling have created informed consumers with high expectations born of the Net. Companies willing to follow the authors’ advice will find that the ability to capture, integrate, and use customer information in all stages of strategic planning will enable companies to reap the rewards of direct contact with consumers to influence their buying behavior based on their individual criteria.

The model that the authors propose for creating sustainable e-economy value can help businesses redefine and benefit from the concept of being truly customer centric in the Net Future. Investing in the new era of individualized marketing, or “personalization”, can make the intense communication that direct interaction allows, provide the potential to transform every customer encounter from being a transaction, to being a real time dialogue between two entities that have a shared interest in moving things forward – and in uncovering new possibilities and new sources of mutual value.

Following the proposed tactics, companies can form strong relationships with customers using the four A’s as a set of drivers that unleash customer potential, and focus on process creation as a means for optimizing brand experience and subsequently building future aggregate value. The shift from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Customer Value Management (CVM) can thus become possible for every company that wishes to manage every aspect of the caring process for customers, and use all technological advances (careware) to generate distinctive value.

The new convergence between the digital and physical environments is another important concept that the authors emphasize, on the basis of which companies are advised to incorporate Net efforts with traditional business. The authors are very thorough and precise in conveying to the reader that the true convergence in the Net Future will encompass more than just hardware that delivers information, or marriages of content and technology.

In the Net economy, these two worlds will collide, as companies in each one begin to embrace the other. And the ultimate “Netted” company is one that understands that this hybrid business environment will be driven by the interactive digital, not the traditional component. The interconnection of products and services is a logical extension of the cybereconomy being driven into mainstream, converging the physical and digital worlds.

The authors attempt to evolve from the interpretations of facts to suggest that with the great value shift of the networked environment leading to the commoditization of products and services, it is clearly evident that only those companies able to create an offering- a tight unification of product and service that betters satisfies the needs of customers- will manage to expand the future value of the customer experience, and make a successful transitioning into the netted environment. Functioning in a networked environment, employees and managers are also about to be interconnected throughout the enterprise as never before.

The last issue addressed in the book details how these connections will dramatically change business. IT and Marketing will forge a value-added relationship that will help the company develop the appropriate infrastructure for achieving both cost efficiencies and customized customer experience. Drawing a conclusion from the authors’ ideas and materials presented, I would say that it is this fundamental change in corporate culture that underlies all restructuring of business models that will enable the transitioning of the organization into the Netted economy.

That is, flexible hierarchies organized around networks will help the organization form internal as well as external partnerships and strategic business alliances that will result to reduced costs and improved effectiveness. The seven imperatives of Max-e-Marketing and the transformations they require are so tightly interconnected that it is difficult to address one without affecting the others. These issues cannot be viewed in isolation. To do so is to risk creating or maintaining a silo mentality, and developing elaborate infrastructures in different parts of the organization that can’t be leveraged for economies of scale.

Max-e-Marketing practises provide the basis for a sound strategic direction and a guide in the Netted environment based on relationships, experiences and corporate future value. The authors offers real-world trends and scenarios as a framework to which emerging network-based businesses can map themselves to merge the old ways of doing business with e-business, and reconcile many disparate elements to achieve true convergence in the Net future. Concise examples from over 200 companies from American Express to zoho. com are cited and explained.

Real-world case studies and real-world top executives exclusively interviewed, coupled with the authors’ own considerable depth and breadth of experience make this book a unique toolkit for every company ready to seize the Internet’s limitless business potential. CONCLUSION In the Net environment, so much seems to happen so quickly that it is often difficult for companies to step back and see how the various pieces fit together. There are so many disparate parts, and yet all the pieces interconnect, much like the Net itself.

The authors of this book make a truly successful effort to reflect the final stage, as well as the implications, of the convergence of the old and new that represent the Net Future. It is a phase in which the interconnectedness of everyone and everything allows the external world to transform the very notion of the enterprise. It is a time when because of total, end-to-end connectivity, consumers can truly indicate to a company their product and service desires, future needs and wants, and likes and dislikes, all in real time.

In the Net Future consumption can drive concept. The authors use valid and consistent arguments to support their views and interpret the new net-version of customer-centric on the basis of accurate and well-researched real world information. Through the numerous illustrations provided, readers can recognize a critical alignment centered on the customer, which will ultimately make all components of the interactive environment start to function in harmony.

Furthermore, the authors examine essential elements in e-business that have changed or will change virtually every facet of life as we know it and help companies redefine not only business behavior but individual behavior as well. In addition to these examples of successful e-business initiatives, the authors scatter Net-ready strategies throughout the book, which provide very concrete examples to stimulate thinking about the future of one’s own business. The seven cybertrends offered in this book allow the enterprise to become truly customer centric.

It’s not a blueprint but a set of flexible strategies for Web success. These seven imperatives are a way of creating some structure for a sprawling, messy process. There’s no question that a business can’t be turned inside out overnight. But to succeed, every company must at least consider how each of these trends will affect its organization and operation. It is the willingness to undergo these key transformations that will allow internetworked companies to become laboratories of the future able to truly benefit from an era of unprecedented opportunity and victory.

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