Streetwise Web Marketing (book review)
- BOOK REVIEW: STREETWISE RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ON THE INTERNET
Reviewed by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, E-Commerce Consultant
Streetwise Relationship Marketing on the Internet
by Roger C. Parker
Adams Media Corp., 2000
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
You'll find lots of books on website technical design, but very
few on building a website that accomplishes your company's
marketing goals. Most websites fail for predictable reasons.
Parker caricatures three types of websites that fail: (1) inner-
directed websites created from the company's point-of-view, not
the visitor's; (2) information-oriented websites that operate like
a brochure, but fail to engage the visitor in dialog, and (3)
transaction-oriented sites that assume every visitor is ready to
buy, and make no attempt to create long-term customer loyalty.
Only relationship-oriented websites, he contends, attempt to forge
long-term bonds with visitors and advance them along the customer
development cycle. Of course, such a view is stereotyped and but
doctrinaire. But the truth is that probably 90% of business
websites give little thought to customer relationship development,
and their resulting site design makes that pretty obvious.
The core of Parker's book is to show how each step of the Customer
Development Cycle can be implemented on a website, harnessing each
portion of the site to serve a deliberate business purpose, rather
than thrown together to emulate another site. Here is where the
book can help any website, planned or in place.
STEP 1. INTRODUCTION. Introduce your business to the visitor and
obtain an e-mail address.
STEP 2. COMPARISON. Meaningful content and credibility enable
visitors to compare your product or service with those of
competitors, while you learn more about visitors' needs and
qualify them by their degree and type of interest.
STEP 3. TRANSACTION. The transaction stage, where money changes
hands, should be the seen as the beginning, not the end, of the
STEP 4. REINFORCEMENT. Now you add value to your customer's
purchase by helping him maximize its value, and position yourself
as the customer's trusted partner.
STEP 5. ADVOCACY. When you provide your customers with the tools
or feeling of community they need to become your promoters, they
drive new visitors to the site.
Each of these steps is detailed in a separate chapter. The
technological underpinning of a relationship marketing-oriented
site includes a combination of open content, available to all, and
premium content, accessible only to qualified -- and registered --
customers. Ideally, of course, the relationship is developed on
the siteowner's end by the use of personalization software tied to
customer databases that can track customers' individual
preferences and make it easier for them to find what they are
While the earlier chapters provide the philosophical and strategic
base for a relationship marketing website, the later chapters
touch on tactics and techniques to accomplish your goals. The
author discusses setting realistic expectations, determining your
market's information needs, developing an e-mail strategy,
promoting the site, optimizing site performance, and using good
design practices. A final chapter demonstrates how to spread out
over a year's time the tasks necessary to get a website working
The book's appendix includes case studies to demonstrate how a
wide variety of small businesses can use a website to build
customer relationships. Unlike many books on web marketing, most
of the case study examples illustrate how essentially local
businesses can take advantage of the Internet's power. These
include: accountant, executive recruiter, financial planner,
marketing consultant, oral surgeon, veterinarian, art gallery,
auto dealer, gift shop, home theater installation specialist,
clothing boutique, video rental store, wood stove dealer, bakery,
gourmet restaurant, microbrewery, motel, whale watch, beauty shop,
commercial building contractor, photographer, day care center,
electronics distributor, graphic designer, health club, insurance
agency, realtor, secretarial service, and travel agent.
Streetwise Relationship Marketing on the Internet is significant
in that it defines and illustrates a clear marketing strategy for
an online presence that informs site design. There's nothing like
it on the shelves. I recommend it to both newbies and experienced
web marketers in order to build more effective websites.
You may use one of these links to purchase the book at a discount:
Senior Contributing Editor
AAA Michigan, 1 Auto Club Drive,
Dearborn MI 48126
(313) 336-1513 voice (313) 336-0986 fax
PRBytes Web page: http://www.jimrink.com/cmc.html
"Not all that is gold does glitter..."