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Streetwise Web Marketing (book review)

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  • Jim Rink
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2000
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      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
      looking for.

      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:

      US: http://amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1580622550/wilsoninternetse
      UK: http://amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1580622550/732
      DE: http://amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/1580622550/wilsonweb



      Jim Rink
      Senior Contributing Editor


      AAA Michigan, 1 Auto Club Drive,
      Dearborn MI 48126

      (313) 336-1513 voice (313) 336-0986 fax

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