By using a variety of examples for each cell of the Matrix, managers can use the I2M to identifying opportunities for their organization.
In this Unit you will learn about these examples.
Traditionally, organizations have relied on news media and advertisements to transmit their stories to the customer. Naturally, the use of intermediaries can pose problems.
For example, news stories, not reported as envisaged, can result in the customer receiving a distorted, unintended message.
The hyperlink, a key feature of the Web, permits a reader to jump to another Website by clicking on a link.
An advertiser can place hyperlink signs or logos at relevant points on the Web so that interested readers may be enticed to link to the advertiser's Website.
Hyperlinks are the billboards of the Web.
They are most valuable when they appear on Web pages read by many potential consumers, such as CNN or USA Today.
As it is very easy to record the number of links from one page to another, it is relatively simple for advertisers to place a value on a particular hyperlink and for the owners of these pages to demand an appropriate rent.
A Website is the information age's extension of society's long history of developing attractive artificial environments.
It parallels the Greek temple and Gothic cathedral of past centuries. These buildings were designed to evoke certain feelings within visitors (e.g., reverence).
Similarly, a Web site should achieve a specific emotional effect on the visitor that prolongs browsing of a site. The Web provides an opportunity for customers to experience an organization's atmospherics without actually being there.
For example Nightclubs stimulate interest by creating an aura of excitement and action. Visuals on their home page exudes the ethos of the club.
E-mails and Texts have become effective methods of communicating with employees, particularly for highly dispersed international organizations.
Because policy changes can be distributed inexpensively and instantly, the organization can gain a high degree of consistency in its communications with employees and other stakeholders.
Instead of an in-house newsletter, an intranet can be used to keep employees informed of company developments.
Previous issues of the newsletter can be made available, perhaps via a search engine, and there can be links to other related articles.
For example, a story on new health benefits can have links to the firm's benefits policy manual.
Use of e-mail and the Web should lead to consistent internal communication, a necessary prerequisite of consistent external communication with customers, suppliers, shareholders, and other parties.
The discarded Big Mac wrapper blowing across the highway does little for McDonald's corporate image. On the Internet, an advertisement arriving along with other e-mail may be perceived by some readers as highly offensive electronic pollution.
Sending junk e-mail, also known as spamming, has aroused the ire of many Internet users. Online supports have taken action to block e-mail from certain firms and accounts. Just as offensive to some Web users are large or inappropriate graphics.
These can be time polluters, wasting time and bandwidth as they load. Organizations need to ensure that their Internet communications are not offensive or time-wasting to visitors.
The Web makes it easy for unhappy consumers to create a Website disparaging a company or product. A disgruntled Ford owner created a Web site to express his dissatisfaction. Consequently, firms must monitor such sites and Internet traffic about them to head off PR disasters.
Most organizations prominently display their logos and other identifying signs on their buildings, packaging, and other visual points of customer contact.
There has been a clear transfer of this concept to the Web. A corporate logo frequently is visually reinforced by placing it on each Web page.
Organizations can be extremely creative in their use of signs.
Customers often prefer to try products before buying, and some software providers take advantage of this preference.
For example Adobe allows consumers to download free trial versions of its software. Consumers can use the basic version of the software for a period of time and can easily upgrade to the full version of the software which has advanced features.
The incentive for the consumer to upgrade is increased functionality.
Word of Mouth
News is not always bad. Companies publish customers' testimonials about its products. Corporations need to monitor Blogs that discuss their products and those of their competitors.
As a result, they can quickly detect emerging problems and respond to assertions that may be incorrect.
Eaves dropping on customers' conversations is an important source of market intelligence, and it is becoming an important element of public relations quite profound as Intel discovered when the flaw in the Pentium chip was revealed in a message on the Internet.
The incident was quickly conveyed to millions of Pentium customers, who bombarded Intel with email.
Word of mouth does not adequately describe the situation when a single electronic message can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of minutes
When IBM announced its takeover bid of a company, it used the Internet to reach its stakeholders, media, and employees. Once the financial markets had been notified, IBM's Web page featured the letter from IBM CEO to other companies CEO.
Also included were the internal memo to IBM employees, press release, audio clip of IBM CEO explaining the offer, and a transcript of a 45-minute news conference.
By the end of the day, 23,000 people had accessed the Web page, about double the normal traffic.
In contrast, the other company's page had a four-paragraph statement from its CEO.
As IBM demonstrated, the Web can be an effective public relations tool. The advantage is that a company can immediately transmit its message to stakeholders without relying on intermediaries, such as newspapers and TV, to redistribute messages.
Of course, mass mailing is also a method for directly reaching stakeholders, but a letter lacks the regency and multimedia features of the Web.
Products and Services
There are now thousands of firms using the Internet to deliver products and services.
Software companies are selling software directly from Web sites (e.g., Adobe sells fonts) and many companies deliver services via their Website.
Computer firms struggle to solve hardware and software problems for a multitude of customers.
This is a problem that can easily spiral out of control. One approach is to let customers solve each other's problems.
As sure as there is one customer with a problem, there is another who has solved it or who would love the opportunity to tackle a puzzler.
If customers can be convinced to solve each other's problems, then this creates the possibility of lowering the cost of customer service and raising customer satisfaction levels.
Thus, the real task is to ensure that the customer with the problem finds the customer with the solution. Apple, like many hardware and software firms, has a simple system for improving customer service.
It uses a management system to network customers using similar products. As a result, the customers support each other, reducing the number of people that Apple has to support.
Firms have discovered that popular culture (including movies, songs, and live performances) can be used to publicize their goods. As the Internet develops, clearly labeled products and ads are appearing in virtual network games.
END OF UNIT
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