NetGain Update: February 2000
>February 29, 2000
>Published by NetGain. Electronic communications
>consulting for professional business communicators.
>Training. Consulting. Speaking. Succeeding!
>* 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
>INTERNET MARKETING TIPS FROM AUSTRALIA AND FIJI
>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�. 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
>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@....
>NEED MONEY FOR A KM INTRANET?
>GET IT FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS
>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
>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@....
>GIVING UP CONTROL IS THE ONLINE COMMUNICATOR'S GOAL
>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@...
>JOIN NETGAIN FOR THE NEXT WAVE:
>OVERVIEW OF THE HUMAN CAPITAL TRACK
>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.!
>THIS MONTH, NETGAIN CONSULTANTS...
>* 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
>* Presented workshops on writing for the Web and managing
> Web content to a leading investment company.
>ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
>Was this issue of the NetGain Update useful? Did it give
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>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.
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