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Computer Terms

Internet Technology Professionals

April 6, 2008


Your Market

Your market consists of your products and services, the people who you sell them to and the people you buy from. Careful analysis of each segment of your market will help you define what the components of each segment are in order to maximize profitability. Increasingly each segment of your market is becoming more and more Internet based. They not only expect but demand the same level of service and support from your business as your competitors or other websites your customers and potential customers see.

When the Internet was "young" it was sufficient to gather emails from your customers and send them emails when you had a sale or a special offering. Some businesses even offered online newsletters or e-zines. As time progressed market leaders offered more than the usual "buy my product, buy my product mantra". They began to offer interactive services; ways for customers and visitors to interact with them, their website and each other. They began forums where everyone could meet, discuss, problem solve and collaborate on a broad range of business and non-business topics. They began offering product reviews from their own staff, industry experts, and other customers. They provided online resources to manufacturers' websites and other relevant information regarding their products and services. In short, they began developing relationships with customers instead of just selling to them.

One the most important factor in the growth of Internet business was the increase in the level of security of every aspect of online dealings. This included published privacy policies and terms of use policies to assure the customers that their information was safe. Leading the way in enhancing online financial transactions was the credit card industry. Even before the Internet "caught on", credit card issuers already had an extensive privately owned network to interface with their merchants who accepted credit cards. The gap that had to be bridged was interfacing their highly secure networks with the publicly switched network we call the Internet. Once that was technologically accomplished, the task of increasing customer confidence in online business or e-commerce was begun. The most powerful feature to accomplish that was the speed at which information and money could change hands.

Early adopters of any new technology usually pay a higher price than those who adopt a "wait and see" attitude. However, those early adopters usually make significantly more return on their investments than those who hesitate. The primary reasons are that the early adopters learn how new technology works and how to use new technology to their benefit. They have committed financial and manpower resources to the new technology and are highly motivated to make it successful. As they become more and more successful they become leaders in the implementation of that technology. Their customers, competition, and technology providers see them as authorities with that technology. Consequently more and more tech providers are likely to provide partnering opportunities with the early adopters because it is a win-win situation for both. Customers correctly perceive the new technology as providing more "value" to online experience in terms of financial gain, time saved, or information gained for the same "cost" as dealing with a competitor's business.

Even though many businesses can't be on the "bleeding edge" of technology, they should constantly monitor their markets to determine when the time is right for them to adopt new technology. Also, many times businesses adopt new technology for defensive purposes. Their competitors have it and they know that if they don't, they will lose customers. There was a time when the saying "build it and they will come" applied to the online business and websites in general. That is no longer the case. The importance of marketing, advertising and sales has grown tremendously. As the number of websites and blogs grow geometrically, the chances of your site being found decrease proportionally, unless you do something about it.
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