Now or Never: How Companies Must Change to Win the Battle for Internet Consumers

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9780066620121: Now or Never: How Companies Must Change to Win the Battle for Internet Consumers

The battle for the 21st century is now clear: inside, traditional brick and mortar companies are digging in for the fight of their lives; outside, a tightening circle of dot.com upstarts threaten to transform every feature of the economy. Is the war over already?

Mary Modahl thinks not; instead, she anticipates that the coming five years will be decisive--which is why companies that want to stay alive and thrive must act Now or Never.

The key to success in the brave new world of e-commerce is a deep and nuanced understanding of how consumers think about and use the Internet. Forrester Research--the world's most respected technology research firm--has developed that understanding in a groundbreaking model of consumer behavior called Technographics. For the firsttime ever, Now or Never shares the Technographics model with business people outside Forrester's exclusive client list.

Built on interviews with more than 250,000 Americans, Technographics divides consumers into ten sharply identified segments based on differing attitudes toward the Internet. That means each segment will use e-commerce in a different way and dive into buying on-line at a different pace.

Using Technographics, businesspeople--from companies that are small or large, established or brand new, traditional or dot.com--will be able to plot a well-reasoned, robust Internet strategy.

Beyond Technographics, the book also identifies and explains the startling, counterintuitive new business models that drive competition on the web. Now or Never introduces the concept of Dynamic Trade, a term that Forrester coined to describe the disruptive new way business gets done on the web.

With engaging prose that is chock-full of real stories, Modahl describes how Dynamic Trade changes the balance of supply and demand, requires companies to ramp up to scale faster ever, and zeroes out marginal cost.

As the battle for Internet dominance reaches a crisis, Now or Never stands apart. Written by a straight-talking business practitioner who knows and understands the Internet as well as anyone working today, this groundbreaking book confronts the most pressing business issue of our time with reasoned answers to the questions on the mind of every informed executive:

  • When will the Internet change the way I do business?

  • Why is the Internet transforming everything about the economy and competition?

  • How exactly will my industry and company change, in terms of customers, competitors, cash flow, and the bottom line?

    AND

  • What should I do about it right now?

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Review:

The hype and market valuations surrounding certain Internet stocks may lead one to conclude that the e-commerce race is over--or nearly so. Clearly, the Internet has caught traditional companies off guard, giving the more nimble dot coms a huge head start. But the race is far from over, says Mary Modahl, a vice president at Forrester Research. In Now or Never, she argues that we are in the first year of a "ten year transition in the way consumers shop and save," and that winning in the Internet space not only requires identifying consumers that are most likely to take their shopping online, but exploiting the new and different business models made possible by online commerce.

Modahl believes that conventional demographics, which segment populations according to their income and education, is a poor predictor of online behavior. As an alternative, she advances Forrester Research's work on "technographics," which measure consumers' attitudes toward technology. Forrester has found that 52 percent of the population is optimistic about technology and is "marching happily towards online shopping," and she shows how companies can better target their marketing strategies to meet this growing legion of consumers. In addition, Modahl considers the "post-Internet competitive environment," which she thinks will be "far more fluid and responsive to changes in supply and demand." Using examples of traditional industries that have had their business models turned upside down by Internet economies--newspapers, travel agencies, and brokerages--Modahl offers ways that the old guard can better cope with technology change, channel conflict, and their own inertia toward this new marketplace.

Well written and presented, Now or Never is a concise distillation of Forrester Research's approach to e-commerce. Anyone whose livelihood is connected to--or threatened by--the relentless march of the Internet would do well to read and consider this book. --Harry C. Edwards

About the Author:

Mary Modahl is vice president of research at Forrester Research Inc., the leading provider of primary research, market analysis, and strategic guidance in the area of electronic commerce. She has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and Wired magazine and has appeared as a guest on CBS, National Public Radio, CNN, and CNBC. Ms. Modahl lives near Boston with her husband and two children.

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