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Abstract -- Commercial Use of the Internet Commercial and Business Aspects Track
C3: Business of the Internet

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Commercial Use of the Internet

Levitt, Lee ( levitt@process.com)

Abstract

This paper and accompanying presentation will discuss the key issues facing companies employing the internet for the purposes of commerce. Using both the findings of primary research and the case study approach, IDC will examine the issues faced by companies in integrating internet activities into their overall marketing, sales and customer support activities. Specifically, IDC will analyze the opportunities, risks and critical success factors in such an undertaking.

Primary Research

Based on a number of primary research activities, IDC will analyze businesses' current and projected commercial usage of the internet. This research identifies the key usages of the internet, marketing/sales/customer support and the level of importance of this activity to the company overall. In addition, it identifies how this level of importance is changing over time, and the level within the company at which it is being driven.

IDC will also provide an analysis of the typical usage patterns - email, web, gopher, maillists, etc, and characterize the types of usage (information gathering, public relations, advertising, transactions, customer support, etc)

Case Studies

IDC will provide a case study analysis of how several companies have successfully integrated an internet marketing campaign into their overall strategy. Given the number of ways in which suppliers and customers *can* converse, what is the appropriate role of electronic communications? How have companies successfully rolled out this incremental function to customers and prospects? What issues have they faced along the way?

IDC will identify both the requirements for success of such a program and the pitfalls to be expected along the way.

Recommendations

IDC will provide a roadmap for the potential net.entrant to follow, identifying the opportunities, costs, and potential risks in starting up a net.presence. For both high tech and more traditional suppliers, IDC will explore the issues inherent in establishing what may be either a complementary marketing, public relations *or* potentially competitive sales channel. Key issues in this portion of the paper will include: internal politics, infrastructure, customer expectations, and integrated marketing strategies.

Finally, IDC will discuss the reasonable goals to be set by a given company rolling out an internet marketing strategy. What level of increased customer contact should the newly net.aware company expect? What impact will this presence have on marketing, sales, public relations, etc.

Benefits

Attendees will have a greater awareness of the steps necessary for success in employing an internet marketing strategy. They will also have a better understanding of the overall company and marketing strategy issues inherent in such an undertaking.