Fresh Perspectives to Make 2007 Your Brightest Yahoo! E-business Year Yet!
I don‚Äôt do New Year‚Äôs resolutions. I‚Äôve noticed that by February, most folks have either stayed the course or fallen off the wagon again. Those New Year‚Äôs resolutions packed my local YMCA gym with short-term enthusiasts and unrealistic exercisers for the entire month of January. Taking their cues from late-night infomercials, some of these folks expected to lose a certain number of pounds in 30 days without even breaking a sweat. We Y-regulars wish them success for their own sakes, yet we know the weight machines and the hot tubs are sure to be less crowded in February. We‚Äôd all love to have a body like James Bond without lifting a finger, but perhaps a reset of expectations is in order.
Staying the course isn‚Äôt just about gaining a new short-term habit. It is about having a global perspective and recognizing that growth requires reaching beyond what you‚Äôve already mastered. E-business is a lot like the triathlon. Success in both requires a sustained effort on at least three distinct fronts. Managing multiple priorities requires perseverance and a commitment to discipline. So, let‚Äôs look at e-business design, operations, and marketing strategy in the context of the highly disciplined and balanced sport of triathlon.
Design is the ‚Äúswim‚Äù of the triathlon. Starting something new can be terrifying. There is a real sense that if you don‚Äôt do this right, or don‚Äôt know what you‚Äôre doing, you‚Äôre dead in the water. The triathlon isn‚Äôt won in the first leg, and your store also doesn‚Äôt win with just a great design. But, during the swim, it is very important to understand that technique matters ‚Äî minimize resistance while maximizing fluid motion. It‚Äôs the same with your e-commerce store ‚Äî confusion and fear equate to ‚Äúno sale‚Äù for the online shopper. Fear will keep otherwise brave souls out of the water and out of the checkout.
Operational innovation is the ‚Äúbike‚Äù component. The bike is the core of the triathlon, because it takes up more than half of the race. A solid product mix, proper market segment, solid business model, good profit margins, and scalable, well-designed fulfillment processes and customer service are where the rubber meets the road. Without strength here, we are certain to have a ‚Äúdid not finish.‚Äù But the aerodynamic beauty of an elegant business model and positive cash flow is prettier than a $10,000 carbon fiber frame with matching carbon wheels.
Marketing strategy is the thing that makes it ‚Äúrun.‚Äù A beautiful site that goes unseen is a very sad thing. It‚Äôs as sad as fresh new running shoes that never leave the box. Anyone can buy ad words, however, managing online advertising campaigns profitably is a mark of true maturity. Driving cost-effective traffic that delivers a positive return on advertising spend and keeps current customers running back will help you finish the course with pride.
A recent Investors Business Daily article cited a Fathom Online report that stated the average price per click for search terms was up 16.5 percent in the third quarter of 2006 to an average of $1.48 per click. With that rate of key phrase bid inflation, we see online marketing strategy requiring more and more sophistication to be successful. As my client friend Joe said the other day, ‚Äúwe aren‚Äôt in the business of collecting numbers, we are in the business of collecting money in the bank.‚Äù
So what can we do to see the future from a new perspective? Consider the value of a meaningful and compelling scoreboard. Because in e-business, the dailies are so ‚Ä¶ well, daily, it is important to be able to get out of the routine and measure progress toward your goals. I learned this lesson dramatically from my recent experience with my Nike Plus iPod.
Originally posted at: www.insightsforum.com