Positioning for the Global Marketplace
Innovations in technology continue to be the major driving force for creating new market opportunities in the 21st century.
In 1998, online shopping surpassed all expectations as the new marketing method of choice.
This was complemented with an insatiable craze for online auctions. Consumers could buy, sell and just browse for hours across a vast array of products and services without being bothered by sales staff, account executives, congested parking lots and endless crowds.
The only irritant for this new breed of shopper was the occasional persistent family member or friend who tried to lure this blurry-eyed online maverick away from the newfound personal shopper, the computer.
Online sales in 1999 hit a record high of approximately $20 billion and predictions favor significant increases for future years.
– A New Set
The next few years will bring a new set of marketing challenges for both the electronic storefront and the traditional business operation. Customers will demand a more seamless shopping experience as they maneuver between the “bricks and mortar” and “cyberspace” storefronts.
Product recognition and brand loyalty will continue to compete with instant product availability, competitive pricing and customer satisfaction in the overall shopping experience. The electronic storefront will require a reliable business infrastructure for handling electronic payments methods, order processing, online shipping and information security.
As E-commerce choices increase, customers may not be as forgiving when they find their purchases and payments lost in cyberspace.
As more traditional businesses enter into this electronic marketplace, they will have to develop balanced business strategies for integrating their traditional markets with new E-commerce opportunities so that unnecessary internal competition among their own products and services is eliminated. This will involve a new look at product mix, market segmentation, competitive evaluation and overall pricing strategy.
On the other hand, technology innovations should not be used a substitute for a sound business plan and well planned marketing strategy.
In order to ensure success in today’s global marketplace, every company can benefit from integrating the new online marketing innovations with a fresh look at the fundamental ingredients of running a successful customer driven company.
– Back To Basics
At Little Cost
The following list is only a sample of some of the “back to basics” that, if applied correctly, will cost your company little or no money but will provide tremendous payback.
o Develop a “customer focused company” as a way of doing business where all product and services can be tied to customer requirements. Ensure that customer satisfaction goals are established and measured across the company and clearly communicated and understood by everyone.
o Develop a planned approach for integrating traditional markets with new E-commerce opportunities so that your company can provide a full complement of marketing opportunity for customers.
o Develop a competitive analysis strategy as a proactive marketing and new business development tool. It is important to keep in mind that today’s customer can access a wide range of market information to help him make purchase decisions.
o Develop a leadership strategy within your company that focuses on “influence” rather than “control.” This will help to promote greater commitment, participation and retention of valued employee resources. Regardless of the marketing strategy that you use, your employees are still your most important assets.
– Implement An
o Implement an effective integration strategy to maximize the performance of your people, processes and technology.
o Promote the use of high performance teams as a way of improving the overall performance of your company.
o Apply a knowledge management strategy to ensure that the organic skills, knowledge and expertise within your company are effectively documented, applied and not lost. Company knowledge and expertise resides with the people and is the ingredient that usually differentiates you from your competition. It should be valued and retained.
Fox is president of Objectives International, Inc., a San Diego-based woman owned consulting company assists industry and government in industrial process improvements, marketing and business development, ISO 9000 implementation and high performance teams. Fox is a regular international speaker, seminar leader and consultant in Asia and Europe.