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The future of Internet shopping lies in value and fulfillment-not pricing

Hear me out, all you online marketers happily skating on razor-thin margins: The future of Internet shopping lies in value and fulfillment – not pricing. The hype on shopping bots and price-comparison services ignores a fundamental market shift: most of the millions of products available on the Internet have already become commodities.

That is, they can be obtained by many vendors without much or any market friction-differentiated entirely by price, and moderated by speed of availability. With commoditization on the Net, price friction has mostly evaporated; the difference in daily prices among most items is ignored because it’s too slight or perceived as too slight. Are you really going to cancel the book order you made yesterday because you found Hannibal selling for a buck less today on another site? Doubtful.

Though we have to be aware that more and more customers are mathematically better trained and increasingly conscious of availability and pricing (online education options, such as math education for GED applicants) have brought about increasing awareness of those factors as well.

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The State of The Internet Economy

The Internet Economy is just the latest of several successive waves of transformation yielding increasingly powerful, inexpensive infrastructure for automating work. For the first time, machines have a common nervous system through which to communicate and organize functions. Enjoying the convenience of the dial tone of the Information Age, we are becoming increasingly dependent upon the platform of computers it connects – yielding a new community comprised of humans and machines.

Our new, ideologically programmed, technologically equipped economy – “ideotechnomics,” as I call it – is growing a nervous system with increasingly intelligent, muscular, mobile, and information-rich extensions. You can see these developments also in education-related technological products such as the online platform for GED Math instruction, BestGEDClasses.org, another fine startup that works with new technology.

The invisible hand of this macrosystem offers the vital support platform of modern life: wondrous goods and services at reasonable costs, providing food, shelter, healthcare, transportation, communications, education, and entertainment for people around the world. If we are wise enough to know why and how to properly evolve the programming of this new economic platform, there is no reason to believe that it cannot continue to provide these values more comprehensively and equitably.

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Example of Effective email marketing

I admit it: I’m a control freak. Particularly when it comes to sharing personal information with direct marketers. Unless I opt-in, I don’t like being spammed, online or otherwise. So when recently flagged with a new email from H&R Block, I initially went straight for the delete button.

Check out this smart video on email marketing:

But then I remembered: On April 14, I had visited a local H&R Block office for help filing my tax return (I’m also a procrastinator). Upon completing my filing, the preparer asked whether I’d be interested in receiving H&R Block emails. Yes, I said, that’d be fine. Remembering that, I stopped short of deleting the message. After all, I thought, I asked for this.

It was an inquiry as to whether I’d be willing to complete an online customer satisfaction survey–in exchange for a $5 Amazon.com gift certificate. The proposition impressed me on several levels. First, this was an email from H&R Block, an established, credible company.

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Branding and Advertising Debacle

BRAND

Brand has been the hot buzzword in advertising for some time now. The concept of brand has been understood for hundreds of years, of course, but it’s gotten a paint job in the last decades and has, in the process, acquired the gloss of a new idea. Simply put, brand is the impression or series of impressions that come to mind when someone sees or hears your company’s name.

Brand is a synthesis of many discrete elements, not the least of which is user experience, but the linchpin of brand creation tends to be advertising. Brand advertising is a promise. And unless the user experience is in direct conflict with that promise, the advertised message becomes the brand in the collective mind of the marketplace. It’s what ad people call “positioning.”

Brand positioning gives customers a reason to select a product or service over that of the competition. It becomes a convenient handle, the intuitive logic behind the buying decision. Without brand positioning, you still have a position in the marketplace.

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