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Articles from The Business Forum Journal

THE SCIENCE OF e-Marketing
By Cliff Smith


With all that businesses NEED to KNOW about the Internet today, it’s important to point out the rapid growth in capabilities that today’s Internet can deliver. The hottest product category right now isn't terabit routing or an optical switch or any such next-generation gadget. What businesses want most right now is the ability to speed up and simplify their service-provisioning process, particularly for in-demand services such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet access.

Service providers, including incumbents, new competitors, and Internet service providers, need new gizmos less than they need the ability to make the ones they have work better, and to reach customers faster and at lower cost.

What dos this mean to you?  Your network and Internet abilities will continue to grow at rapid pace, far outrunning technologies like television, and the expansion of the new digital phone networks.  In essence, a package of products is by far the biggest news in the access arena this month.  When Cisco rounded up some of the better vendors in the DSL service delivery game, they came up with one new software product of its own and produced a system that automates delivery of DSL service from the time the customer places the order until the service is up and running.  The new product - they call it a solution - addresses several key factors, starting with the customer order...

We are all experiencing an infrastructure build-out race unseen since the development of the automobile and the search for gold in the days of the Wild West.  At that early stage of our country’s youth, a customer couldn’t simple enter a phone number into a Web interface or speak to a service representative at a CLEC or ISP. Today, assuming that information is entered correctly, System programs can send the order to the incumbent telephone company, without sending faxes or using human beings, who can and do screw things up. Electronic connections into the operations systems of large competing companies will find a need to maximize customer business intelligence, and market products to the people who are actually doing the buying... 

If today we can accomplish such precision with non-human efficiency methods, shouldn't your business more effectively and expeditiously increase? By truly examining your internal eMarketing efforts are you insured greater profitability?  Of course all the research in the world isn’t worth squat if you can’t get the web site sales throughput from your eCommerce initiatives... 

Research shows that many of yesterday’s marketing methods that were expected to be successful left them short and ineffective by themselves.  The methods your company chooses to employ should be a balanced and carefully documented course of actions. 

You must first examine these things…

  • How Large is your Online Audience?

  • What exactly are you Expecting from an eMarketing program?

  • How much can I Expect to Pay?

  • Are the Results Measurable?   

  • Does it provide Value?

A U.S. Company has developed what it calls a "Soft IAD" offering two services; it has the ability to be software-upgraded to support softswitches, “Patches” in the future. This software upgradeability is critical because while service providers want to put intelligent devices on the customer premises today, they can't be certain what tomorrow's network architectures will look like. If businesses require this deep of an information penetration you can be assured eMarketing will become a very valuable commodity if done correctly with carefully chosen niche web site markets.

One size fits all...  It fits no one:

Every customer is unique.  They want choices that match their interests, buying habits and expectations.  They want personal service and attention, even on the Internet. Serious marketers recognize they must understand their customer's needs and provide personalized communication and service to succeed.  

Development Process

The development process to create an eStrategy starts with the discovery of an organization's market history, objectives and technical structure, as well as an understanding of the target audience. From this a succinct marketing/integration roadmap is built. This roadmap often starts the development process by establishing a solid content management foundation through what should be a Quality Web Site Management program.

Advanced electronic marketing, including e-mail, CD-ROM, Virtual Sales Calls and Virtual Trade Shows, Web site customer service and e-commerce infrastructure companies are popping up everywhere. Near the top of the pyramid is one-to-one media personalization and sales integration: Web site, e-mail, print and CD-ROM, which lead to a complete one-to-one selling environment. Seek out those companies who provide references and can show you measurable results.

Personalization Engines:

A company enhances its service through personalization, and at the same time obtains a clear understanding of each customer. Web sites utilize two methods to personalize communication: Explicit Methodology and Implicit Methodology.

Explicit methodology personalizes the site based on information the visitor has specifically stated as their profile information for the purpose of customization.  Once this profile is gathered, Web site content is filtered towards the user's stated needs and interests.

Implicit methodology personalizes the site based on information gathered by observing such actions as a visitor's Web site navigational patterns, purchasing patterns or other behavior.

Companies need to combine explicit and implicit methodologies to deliver communication that is particularly accurate and persuasive. Information from the profile engine is then fed to a personalization engine. Using real-time, rules-based logic, communication is filtered or personalized towards the individual's needs. This can take the form of relevant product recommendations, personalized Web site links or custom navigational options, persuasive product descriptions with emphasis on individually relevant benefits or features, total customer versioning/segmentation or a combination thereof. 

Multi Solutions allow businesses to use the Internet and other multi platform mediums such as CD-ROMs and DVDs for interactive marketing, personalization, and one-on-one selling.

“Some of the above information is taken from the book Computer In$elligence written by OMMGroup president Mark Melin.”  

About the Author:

Cliff Smith is a Fellow of the Business Forum Association.  He is the President of 1st Net Technologies, Inc.  Cliff is actively involved in gaining community and industry recognition for 1st Net Technologies. Under his initiative, 1st Net is a member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and The San Diego and Imperial County Better Business Bureau. In 1997, Cliff teamed 1st Net with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Bell to create and develop a presentation titled the "Tour of Technology" for the San Diego Insights 1997 World Conference.

Cliff has represented 1st Net Technologies through public speaking engagements at the San Francisco Money Show where he made a presentation on investor relations marketing services for public companies on the Internet. He also conducted two investor relations marketing workshops at additional Money Shows in both San Francisco and Seattle. Mr. Smith was also a Speaker at the 1998 Regional Investment Banker's Association Conference in Washington, D.C. and in San Francisco where he presented an overview of 1st Net and the company's proprietary technologies regarding affinity- based browsers, content-based routing, email management software and IP telephony.

He appeared as a guest on “World Business Review” hosted by Casper Weinberger in June 1999 where he discussed two of the company’s proprietary technologies including the affinity based browsers and the 1st Net "Interactive Business Cards" used to efficiently and cost-effectively market any e-commerce web based business.

Cliff was the creator and conceptual designer of the company's latest marketing product called the 1st LookCD, effectively bridging the gap between the real world and the Internet, all while leveling the playing field for smaller technology companies to compete on a National level.

Previous articles by Cliff Smith:

The Dawning Industry of e-Marketing Technologies
The Search Engine Mystique

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