Almost every company has a web site these days.
But, are you using the internet to market more effectively?
The internet has allowed marketers to promote their value propositions and talk directly to customers in ways never before possible. And, we constantly hear that this way of one-to-one marketing has fostered more customer centric strategies.
However, from what I see not every CEO has adopted a completely proactive approach to dealing with customers using the internet. Many have just taken their literature and posted it on their web sites with some forms for interested customers to fill out and e mail to the company. Others have gone one step further and have set up other forms to allow for ordering off of the their web sites.
The internet offers many more wonderful ways to promote your business more effectively than traditional methods of the past. It certainly allows you to cast a much wider global net and directly motivate more customers, if you use it properly.
Some of the more obvious benefits of marketing via the internet are:
Professionally done product presentations
One of the best things the internet provides is the ability to create professionally done product presentations and demonstrations. One of the things that used to bug me as a CEO was the way in which salesmen would present our products to prospective customers. After some sales calls I would ask "whose product were you selling"VbCrLf?
Depending upon the experience, education and personality of the salesman each would make a different presentation. If we were selling a product that required technical knowledge and experience, it was even worse.
Now with the internet you may not even need a sales force any more because everything that any customer needs to know should be available in a standard professional format with graphically sophisticated demonstrations of how to use the product, as well as highlighting its benefits and advantages. This can be supplemented with online availability of a company expert to talk to or FAQ's.
Selling today can be conducted via phone with access to the internet. You can show customers where anything that they need to know can be found on your web site and you can take them through demonstrations over the phone referring to your site on their screen.
Webinars further enhance this process of continuous customer education about your value proposition.
Broadcast product updates and promotions
Another beautiful aspect of online marketing is that you can broadcast updates to your product offerings to your e list of customers. In addition you can broadcast promotions, sales and other incentives. This ability to motivate customers and keep them directly aware of new product developments instantly is a powerful tool.
Historically, you would hope that customers would see your advertisements, or react to a snail mail promotion, or see something new in your store. This was a haphazard, catch as catch can approach, at best. Now you can be assured that every customer on your e customer file receives information about new developments.
Share success/application story's
Customer success story's sell product "" it's a know fact. Now you have the ability to share these success story's over the internet with the confidence that all of your good customers will see it! Business is about solving problems for customers.
Customer profiling/market research
Every time you have a transaction with a customer it is a great opportunity to capture another piece of their
In addition, now that you can establish a one-to-one relationship with customers you have another wonderful opportunity to ask them how you can continue to help them with their individual requirements or solve problems that they have. These solutions for individual customers usually become very saleable enhancements for other customers.
This is about customer relationship marketing ""
I hope these few practical examples motivate you to explore how you can take advantage of the internet to market your value proposition more effectively, if you are not already doing so.
If you would like to start a dialogue on internet marketing "" let me know.
Just think about how you have been motivated via internet promotions.
An entrepreneur himself, Bob has spent most of his career involved with starting, growing and selling businesses. Having held managerial positions with IBM, Pfizer and Exxon, he draws upon extensive organizational experience with large and small companies in advising CEOs of growing firms. He is available online to answer questions from Chief Executive readers, as well as offer workshops, tips, books to read and a monthly online column about common issues facing CEOs of growing firms. Bob has been featured in
He is the author of GUIDEBOOK TO PLANNING - A Common Sense Approach to Building Business Plans for Growing Firms, which has recently been reprinted. He is a past contributor to Chief Executive and one of his articles was featured in The Best of Chief Executive. Email Bob at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Chief Executive is read by the 'cream of the crop' senior top management working in various businesses and industries. They rely on the editorial for ideas, strategies, and tactics needed to create and run an effective organization. Our subscribers place a high value on the magazine, as a source they rely on to learn from their peers and gain best practices.
A new generation of business leaders are asserting their capabilities and determination around the world. They comprise the post-millennial vanguard forging our global economy. Complementing and supplanting the European dominated hierarchies of the post-World War II era, they include Asian and Latino leaders. Taking advantage of leaps in technology and the homogenization of culture, they are borderless. They may be entrepreneurs, ambitious scions of established family enterprises or executives of multinational corporations, but they're all enabled by the spread of free-market capitalism. Many are making their mark in high-tech and emerging sectors, while others are blazing new trails in traditional staples of industry. They tend to be young, with universal sensibilities. Despite the increasing redistribution of American business might to the rest of the world, many have important ties to the
Yet Chief Executive has identified a dozen individuals from around the world who clearly exemplify the new generation, their backgrounds, their attitudes- and their possibilities.
Alberto Arebalos - Google
Representing one of the world's most dominant and dynamic new brands should be a piece of sopaipilla for Arebalos after dodging death threats as a journalist. But the 45-year-old director of communications and public affairs for Google in
Arebalos has mettle on his CV. As a Reuters reporter, the
He jumped to Google last fall, where one of his most challenging tasks is to help open up a corporate culture that has tended toward the secretive-even though its success is built on the Internet. Google "is built on goodwill, and we could lose it in a moment," Arabalos says. "This is a company that touches practically everyone's life nearly every day."
Arebalos looks up to John Chambers, CEO of Cisco. "He's an excellent leader." When he's not traveling, he tinkers with new devices to enhance his hobbies of listening to music and watching movies.
Shouvik Bhattacharya Adea
At 38, Adea CEO Bhattacharya has already crisscrossed the world in executive and top IT consulting posts. Now he is making Adea a rapidly growing force in the accelerating global IT-consulting industry, with revenues of $75 million and a staff of more than 1,000 landing and fulfilling contracts on three continents.
Constantino de Oliveira - GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes
Son of a bustransport magnate, de Oliveira (who goes by "Junior") is the billionaire Freddie Laker of
The Sao Paulo-based company went public in 2004, providing de Oliveira with more capital for expansion. South American destinations have expanded to 60. Last year, GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes acquired and integrated venerable Varig (VRG Linhas Aereas). Varig recently added five European destinations and planned to launch flights to
Perhaps as a function of growing up with three brothers, the 39-yearold de Oliveira says he's "a man of few words. I prefer to hear a lot and to lead people, converging our energies on the same point."
Michael Hoffmann - Hewlett-Packard
At 46, Hoffman is an HP lifer, but that doesn't mean he takes his job or his company for granted. In fact, the dedication he demonstrated to corporate goals and values since joining HP out of college 20 years ago helped Hoffman climb the ranks to the unique position he enjoys today as the com pany's only senior vice president not based in the
The supplies, image and printing operation Hoffmann runs is crucial to growth because he's in charge of the high-margin products that keep HP's millions of installed printers churning out billions of pages worldwide.
A member of the fifth generation of merchant families on both sides, Hoffmann leveraged his sales acumen and dedication to HP into a career-long blitz through many corporate functions and locations. "Now, I'm thinking about how markets are developing three to 10 years out and driving the right decisions around technology, research and development, our manufacturing footprint, and workforce development," he says. "But I also need to make sure our current execution is flawless."
Hoffmann lives in
Jacob Hsu - Symbio
Early in his career, it became clear to Hsu that his birth in
"We've been very successful because we understand how
Hsu joined Symbio in
Laurent Kocher - Orange Business Services
Senior vice president of global services, Kocher joined this B2B unit of the
Kocher, 42, was always intrigued by technology, and began his career selling IBM hardware and software in
Double-digit annual growth ensued, and much of Kocher's task now is to acquire and integrate other operations into his
"Integrating service companies is quite a challenge," he concedes. "But if you set the right vision, and people can recognize themselves in the ambition, you can get people on board."
Kocher's favorite leisure pursuit is so French it should come with a sauce: reading political philosophy. He also skis-sans books.
Nancy Markley -
Three years ago, this research scientist- turned founder and CEO formed a venture capital company leveraging three major business trends into nascent commercial success: the aging of the massive corps of Western baby boomers, that generation's growing preference for natural rather than chemical solutions to nutritional and medical needs, and the desire by university scientists and other innovators to commercialize such research.
"I loved science growing up, but I was always more interested in commercializing it," says the 42- year-old Markley, who has a PhD in life sciences. As an executive of a biotech startup, she ended up managing a spinoff enterprise that produces natural emulsions from oilseeds-and landed natural cosmetics giant Burt's Bees as a customer.
At the same time, Calgary-based Markley was nurturing
"All of the technologies we're working with today are aimed at global markets," Markley notes. "We are helping attract talent and financing internationally to fund these products and drive them to market."
The mother of two can't recommend Donald Trump's childrearing skills but likes his approach to business. "He has taken his talent to a different level," she says. "He has done it his way."
Geraldine McBride - SAP, Asia-Pacific
Given that SAP is ensconced in the relatively mature business of enterprise resource planning software, it might seem audacious of McBride, president and CEO of Asia-Pacific, to suggest that she can grow her part of the company to three times its current size by 2010. But the 47-year-old, self-described "transformational business leader" has achieved stunning goals time and again during her 24-year career with the German-based software leader.
The New Zealand native and former frog researcher spent about a decade in sales with IBM in South Africa before jumping to SAP after meeting its dynamic co-founder, Hasso Plattner. McBride has since dramatically jump-started SAP's growth about every three years in a different territory:
"Don't give me a business in a steady state," McBride says. "I enjoy the challenges of being able to take business from a good state and making it high-growth. It's semirepeatable; it's about aspirational and transformational leadership." And pulling that off, in part, depends on establishing three-year objectives and on paying a bit more for good people.
McBride manages to satisfy her lifelong interest in zoology with frequent hikes from her homes in relatively untamed areas of
Carlos Antonio Salas - Stratos Renewables
Stratos Cofounder And CEO "Tony" Salas says he believes that his startup is the most promising company in one of the most promising industries on the globe: ethanol production. This
"We will be the most beautiful woman in the bar." Salas received his undergraduate degree and MBA in the
Then he came up with the proposition for Stratos: Grow sugarcane on a desert strip on
Salas got financing and is building a distillery that should be in operation yet this year. Then Stratos will be greeting customers in the U.S. Salas was a national amateur tennis champion several times, most recently when he was 31 years old.
Sheila Jane Sarver - General Motors
As director of engineering and operations,
"We're committed to being an industry leader in
At the same time, Sarver says her performance is carrying extra expectations because "there are not a lot of women in senior technical positions in
GM thinks enough of Sarver's work so far-and her potential-that it selected her as one of just a couple dozen executives around the world to be featured in interviews and activities attached to the celebration of GM's centennial this year. "I do have aspirations," she says, "to greater corporate leadership."
Beatrice Trussardi - Trussardi
As the handpicked CEO of a century - old , $200-million icon of the Italian fashion industry, Trussardi has a lot on her 36-year-old shoulders. Not only has she been working to keep Trussardi and its brands on the cutting edge of global design during her three years as chief, but she also has been plotting the company's expansion to the
"The constant challenge that we face as a fashion brand is that we have a history," says Trussardi, who joined the company nine years ago as head of marketing after getting undergrad and MBA degrees in New York-and then working in the art-museum business. "It's an advantage in one way, but you also have to communicate that you're innovating and contemporary and proposing new products."
Trussardi focused on creating a more flexible management structure and on adjusting its approach market by market to enhance the brands' awareness abroad. She also got behind a not-for-profit group that is working to boost worldwide appreciation of
Trussardi is a member of the Young Global Leaders group established by the Davos-based World Economic Forum.
Johan Stael von Holstein - IQube
The irrepressible von Holstein, CEO of IQube, is a rising serial entrepreneur. He founded one of the world's most successful dot-com companies and is now trying to apply a Midas touch to his latest idea: a new approach to startup incubators called IQube. Von Holstein's notion for IQube is a variation on the idea that if you put enough monkeys in front of keyboards, you will end up with a novel. At his first IQube site, in
"I'm not smart enough to pick raisins out of a cake, so I eat the whole cake and therefore I get all the raisins," he says. "Good entrepreneurs don't need help as much as they need enough time." Von Holstein, 45, says that IQube's initial thrust is to help solve the problem of anemic entrepreneurialism in
He knows what he's doing. In 1996, von Holstein grew a consulting startup, Icon Medialab, to more than 3,500 employees in 32 offices in 21 countries.
Accomplishment has allowed von Holstein some idle periods, including a few years spent skiing with his family in the
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In an online column Chief Executive asked why CEOs are largely underrepresented from the ranks of political leaders, particularly those seeking the presidency (Mitt Romney notwithstanding).
I agree that most CEOs would not make very good presidents. You point to one very important reason: Most CEOs are used to having their instructions followed where in the political arena, they could easily be undone. The games are fundamentally different. Not only are the rules of the game different but so are the fundamental leadership skills.
We know in business that different leadership skills are required for companies in different life cycles. For example, a great turn around manager rarely makes a great growth executive. A start-up entrepreneur often is replaced by a professional CEO once the company reaches a certain stage of growth. Why would we expect that a great CEO can be a great political leader if a great CEO in one environment will be a lousy CEO in another?
And to make the point from another angle, consider why there are very few CEOs who take over the reins of leading academic institutions. Different games require different skill sets.
Do CEOs make good presidents? No. They are "temperamentally unsuited." That dispensed with, I must have a bit of fun with you and Steve Forbes on the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. When I was a kid in the '50s, I recall reading about three great mysteries:
1. Why did Queen
2. What happened to Hitler? Is he alive in
3. What caused the Great Depression? The Smoot-Hawley Tariff has been tediously recited by generations of clueless teachers. A few years ago, I read an article citing statistics on the money supply during the period beginning with the stock market crash of 1929. The author argued that the stock market crash, in and of itself, wasn't that damaging. But it set in motion a series of events that decimated the money supply, and that caused the Depression. I found that argument more compelling than the *&^%*^ Smoot-Hawley Tariff.
It's About Customers
I could not agree more with Bob Donnelly's column on CRM (CE Online, October/November 2007). I have been fortunate enough to have had three wonderful firsthand experiences with customers laying out their problems. Two were ignored by the company I worked for; one we listened to and built a dominating business. Once one gets in tune with the customers, it is amazing how clear they are in telling you where they want you to go (product-wise). There is a close corollary for start-ups, which is that one must accept that everything will change as one learns more about customer needs; however, one better be in the game.