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NetGain Update: February 2000

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  • Jim Rink
    ... Regards, Jim Rink Senior Contributing Editor /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// AAA
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2000
      >February 29, 2000
      >Published by NetGain. Electronic communications
      >consulting for professional business communicators.
      >Training. Consulting. Speaking. Succeeding!
      >What's inside...
      >* Internet Marketing Tips from Australia and Fiji
      >* Need Money for a KM Intranet?
      > Get It From Your Customers
      >* Family Matters
      >* Giving Up Control is the Online Communicator's Goal
      >* Join NetGain for the Next Wave:
      > Overview of the Human Capital Track
      >* This Month...
      >* About This Newsletter
      >* About NetGain
      >by Daniel Janal
      >In the U.S., we tend to think that the Internet revolves
      >around us. Nothing could be further from the truth,
      >as I found out in my trip to Australia and Fiji in
      >February of 2000.
      >In fact, there's a cute map that shows an Australian's
      >perspective of the world. Antarctica and New Zealand
      >at the top of the world, and everything else is below.
      >In other words, the southern tips of South America
      >and Africa are dead center in the world. The U.S.,
      >Canada, Europe and Russia are at the bottom.
      >That's one of the most instructive messages I can
      >share with you. As Internet marketers, we need to
      >remember that there is a big world out there and
      >they see the world differently than we do.
      >There's another bit of wisdom I'll pass along before
      >going into my list of tips. In the Sydney Museum of
      >Art, there's a great work by a Russian artist. It shows
      >a wall of a library with all the books facing OUT,
      >instead of showing the spine of the book, which would
      >normally display the title and author. Needless to say,
      >you can't find anything without the title! All the books
      >are just a useless mishmash of pages and information.
      >I think that's a suitable analogy for the Internet.
      >Without carefully creating websites, full of titles
      >and navigational aids, the site will be a useless
      >amalgam of words. You can't make your site easy
      >enough to navigate.
      >Here are nine other lessons I learned about Internet
      >Marketing on My Trip to Australia and Fiji:
      >1. Drive on the left-hand side of the road. If you intend
      > to get international business, you must localize your
      > pages to meet the needs of that local audience. Even
      > people who speak English use the language differently.
      >2. Customize your material. Would you believe "Who Wants
      > to Be a Millionaire" airs in Australia? Regis isn't
      > the host. There's a local guy. Here's a sample question:
      > "What body of water separates Australia from New Zealand?
      > That's a simple question in Australia, and a million-dollar
      > question for an American!
      >3. The Internet truly is worldwide. Internet cafes line the
      > streets of Sydney. For only $3 an hour, you can sign on to
      > the Net at a caf´┐Ż. I saw several cafes and they were all
      > jam packed, with upwards of 20 computer stations. Even my
      > hotel room at the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney offered
      > Internet access through their DSL lines for $24.95 for an
      > unlimited day of service.
      >4. Everyone who has a business should be on the Internet -
      > even if you're on a remote island. Even a remote bed and
      > breakfast on a Fijian island has a website that uses e-mail
      > to promote its six-room resort.
      >5. Everyone cares about the Internet. The cover story of the
      > International editions of Time and Newsweek featured the
      > AOL and Time Warner deal.
      >6. The largest American companies operate at a high profile
      > all over Australia. E-trade boasts it is the second largest
      > broker in Australia in a partnership with ANZ Bank
      > (www.anz.com), although they do charge more than in the U.S.
      > for a trade, about $27 USD, for an order on the share market
      > (the Aussie term for the stock market). Excite issues four-
      > color brochures sponsoring a local movie festival
      > (www.openair.excite.com.au). CitySearch has invaded Australia
      > as well (www.citysearch.com.au). Anyone investing in these
      > stocks would do well to factor in the international sales
      > to their decisions to buy and sell.
      >7. Dot com is the most important brand name on the Internet,
      > worldwide. Every company wants the dot com designation,
      > not dot org or dot net. This raises interesting questions
      > for ICANN and Network Solutions that are working to
      > develop new top-level domains like business and art. Everyone
      > wants a dot com, even if it is followed by an "au" to denote
      > Australia.
      >8. There are Internet millionaires. They just aren't selling
      > stuff on the net. They are investing in the stock market.
      > Nigel, an English computer programmer and fellow cruise
      > ship passenger, is on a round-the world trip thanks to
      > his investments with Internet stocks. He checks the
      > latest prices and makes trades at Internet cafes around
      > the world.
      >9. The Net is reshaping travel industry. Nearly everyone on my
      > cruise used the Net to check out cruise lines, hotels,
      > restaurants and even purchase airline tickets. This applied
      > to senior citizens as well as Gen-exers from the U.S.,
      > Canada, England and Australia.
      >10.A survey by Ernst & Young printed in the Sun Herald
      > (www.sunherald.com.au) shows e-sales are down compared to the
      > US because Aussies are afraid of having their credit cards
      > stolen. Wait till they realize there is nothing to fear but
      > fear itself. Only 5 percent of Australians have bought online
      > compared to 17 percent for the US, 9 percent of Canadians and
      > 10 percent of Britons. Amazon and CDnow are the most popular
      > sites for buyers in those countries.
      >Reach Dan at dan@....
      >by Craig Jolley
      >Communicators looking to justify a knowledge management
      >intranet should consider letting their customers pay for it.
      >Not by passing development costs directly to customers but
      >by focusing initial efforts on addressing customer service
      >and satisfaction objectives. Why? Because even small gains
      >derived from knowledge management success have potentially
      >large bottom-line impact.
      >Consider the following. Harvard Business Review has estimated
      >that most companies lose up to 50 percent of their customers
      >every five years and that decreasing this turnover by as little
      >as five percent could double a company's profits. Furthermore,
      >numerous studies have shown poor customer service to be a
      >primary culprit in customer dissatisfaction. A 1998 Intel study
      >showed that 60 percent of customers were unhappy after contacting
      >customer service.
      >According to Servcesoft Technologies, one of many companies
      >offering eService solutions, poor or inconsistent customer
      >service agent knowledge is one of the leading factors of
      >customer complaints. Indeed, the American Productivity and
      >Quality Center considers customer service and call centers
      >as critical pieces of the knowledge-based company.
      >By extension, then, a knowledge management intranet strategy
      >designed to help front line staff meet customer service needs
      >can play a significant role in increasing satisfaction and
      >reducing (or delaying) customer defections. And since these
      >positive shifts can be linked to revenue and profit
      >calculations, a business case built on customer service
      >objectives offers excellent prospects of getting
      >management's attention and support.
      >Contact Craig at craig@...
      >by Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
      >According to Joseph H. Coates, founder/editor of The Futurist,
      >"It isn't the idea of what a family means that is changing
      >today, it's the definition of what a family is." In his 1996
      >study of work force family patterns, Coates found a wide
      >variety of nontraditional family forms springing up in all
      >regions of the United States to replace traditional ones.
      >Single-parent families, he found, were increasingly common
      >across all socio-economic groups. The number of "boomerang"
      >families (where post-high school and post-college children
      >return to live at home as an economic practicality) were
      >also increasing. Gay families were "surfacing", Coates found,
      >as a result of the new openness in society, while co-habitation
      >was becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to marriage.
      >Group living, with or without intimacy, was becoming
      >increasingly popular with young people -- for economic reasons
      >primarily, but also as an antidote to the loneliness and
      >isolation they encountered in frequently unfamiliar
      >environments. And with the rapid rise in divorce rates,
      >Coates found that "blended" families' (where divorced
      >parents remarry and link step- families with their own
      >children) were no longer the exception in American
      >society but were actually becoming the
      >most commonly seen.
      >These changes in the definition of what constitutes a family
      >play a critical role in shaping management practices of the
      >today. Not the least because so many of the traditional
      >support roles played by members of the old nuclear family
      >will have to be catered for by people and organizations
      >from outside the family. As industrial psychologists
      >have noted, the breakdown of the traditional family often
      >leaves employees nowhere to turn for help with everyday
      >problems other than their place of employment. A 1993
      >survey of Silicon Valley employees, nearly half of whom
      >are unmarried, under 30, and often living too far from
      >home to enjoy regular contact with parents and childhood
      >friends, revealed that a majority looked to their companies
      >for the sense of community and companionship that they
      >would otherwise have sought in family structures.
      >But it is the practical problems arising from family
      >restructuring that companies have to address most urgently
      >right now. Accommodating less rigid work schedules for
      >single parents, arranging time off for child- and elder-
      >care responsibilities, making space in the organization
      >for job-sharing, permanent part-time employment, working
      >from home options, and providing in-house counseling for
      >problems ranging from mortgages to maternity counseling.
      >Flexibility at all levels is going to be crucial to
      >retaining good employees.
      >* Talk to employees one-on-one about their family issues.
      >* Tell the work force about your own efforts to balance work
      > and family. Lew Platt, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard
      > was a single father for several years after the death of
      > his first wife. He used examples from his personal life
      > to show employees he understood the issues they face.
      >* Provide personal leave policies that make it possible for
      > employees to take time off work without an emergency and
      > without jeopardizing their job security.
      >* Review the company's policies to see if they are realistically
      > "family-friendly" -- or if they need to be updated to fit the
      > current times. For example: Have you structured management
      > jobs so that they require a stay-at-home partner, just so all
      > the activities of daily living can be taken care of?
      >* Explore "flex-time and place" work arrangements that utilize
      > various combinations workplace hours and time in the office
      > with time working from home. Be realistic in what you promise.
      > In a tough, competitive business, a company can't always make
      > the job easier, but it can offer some flexibility in the way
      > employees get the job done.
      >* Walk the talk. "Family-friendly" policies are useless if
      > supervisors/managers don't also take advantage of them and
      > support them in the workplace.
      >Reach Carol at carol@....
      >by Pete Shinbach, APR
      >There is a word that seems to be rearing its ugly head more
      >and more often these days. The word is "control" and it's
      >showing up in articles and conversations professional
      >communicators are having about new media and the Internet.
      >For example, the current issue of "The Public Relations
      >Strategist," in a "point-counterpoint" article, asks who
      >should control the corporate web site? One side argues that
      >Public Relations "must control the web site" while the other
      >posits that corporate web sites require collaborative control.
      >In another instance, several years ago, a corporate
      >communications vice president, worrying that her department
      >would not have any place on her company's soon-to-be-launched
      >intranet asked me how she could "control" the information to
      >be posted on that intranet.
      >Setting aside any discussion about the issue of controlling
      >information in a collaborative environment, I think it
      >worthwhile to consider the issue in a broader context. As
      >professional communicators, we deal in information. It's
      >our stock-in-trade. As such, it's worthwhile to revisit
      >Peter Drucker's "The Frontiers of Management." In it, he
      >wrote, "The information-based organization does not
      >actually require advanced 'information technology.' All it
      >requires is the willingness to ask, 'Who requires what
      >information, when and where?' " It is not, therefore, a
      >matter of control so much as it's a matter of relevance.
      >Information, to be valuable, must be so compelling that
      >the people we intend to receive it will make every
      >effort to find the information, absorb it and act on it.
      >And, for those, like the midwestern corporate VP who worried
      >about her lack of control over her intranet, it is also
      >worthwhile to keep in mind that electronic communications
      >demands collaboration. As Drucker points out, "We have
      >been working at communication downward from management to
      >employees, from the superior to the subordinate. But
      >communications are practically impossible if they are
      >based on the downward relationship."
      >The question of controlling information on a corporate web site,
      >therefore, is a moot one just as is the VP's concern over
      >controlling information on the corporate intranet. For Internet
      >information to be effective it must be compelling. By the way,
      >we'll be talking about that at the March 9-10 Next Wave 2000
      >conference in Washington DC.
      >Pete can be reached at pete@...
      >This is the fourth (and final) installment
      >in our series of reviews of sessions
      >scheduled for each of five tracks that make
      >up the "NextWave eCommunications" conference
      >that NetGain is developing with the International
      >Association of Business Communicators. The
      >two-day conference is set for March 9 and 10.
      >Last month, we covered the Knowledge
      >Management track. This month, we'll review
      >the sessions set for the Human Capital track.
      >(All tracks, along with speaker bios and
      >registration information, are available at the
      >conference Website: http://www.nextwave2000.com.)
      >The track begins with a session on how to use online
      >tools to gain support among employees during times
      >of traumatic change. Communicators who have done
      >it will share the lessons they've learned at
      >companies including Nortel Networks and Texas
      >Next up, communicators from Sapient and ONeSystem
      >will cover the use of intranets to build employee
      >commitment. Then, Michael Rudnick, senior vice
      >president from Web development agency Xceed, will
      >discuss the challenges of leading a high-tech workforce.
      >NetGain partner Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., will wrap
      >up the track by focusing on how to motivate Gen-X in
      >today's work environment.
      >We hope to see you March 9-10 in Washington, D.C.!
      >* Designed and facilitated a meeting that let IT employees
      > know what it would be like to work in a "Services Company"
      > work environment.
      >* Agreed to help a major telecommunications company develop
      > intranet-based online communities.
      >* Addressed Conference Board audience on the role of
      > communication as a primary driver of knowledge
      > management value.
      >* Addressed an audience of corporate communicators on the
      > topic of "counterbalance: Having a life while having a
      > career."
      >* Presented workshops on writing for the Web and managing
      > Web content to a leading investment company.
      >Was this issue of the NetGain Update useful? Did it give
      >you a new idea or two you can use to improve the way you
      >use electronic information tools? Maybe even a new service
      >you can offer your clients or employer to help them
      >succeed. If it did, we've succeeded. If it didn't, just
      >wait until the next issue.
      >NetGain UPDATE is a monthly newsletter published by
      >NetGain, a consortium of independent communications
      >technology consultants. Each article in this newsletter
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      >NetGain is a unique consortium. It is the only consulting
      >organization made up of public relations and business
      >communications consultants dedicated to helping other
      >PR and business communications organizations capitalize
      >on the advances being made in electronic communications
      >technology. Using desktop computing, organizational
      >networks or the Internet, NetGain helps professional
      >communications organizations -- agencies, corporations,
      >associations and non-profits -- develop and execute
      >strategic electronic information programs. We help
      >communicators succeed.
      >To find out more about NetGain, send an email message to

      Jim Rink
      Senior Contributing Editor


      AAA Michigan, 1 Auto Club Drive, Dearborn MI 48126
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