Here's the big idea, based on a new book called Best Face Forward by Jeffrey Rayport and Bernie Jaworski. Consumer
products and services industry executives sometimes say, "We should
outsource/ offshore marketing, or customer service." Or, "We can make
more money by pushing sales or service out of the store and through the
web to pc's, pda's, and kiosks." So they change those interfaces.
Sometimes they do a good job. But often the operational and financial results don't reflect that.
What's missing? Rayport and Jaworski advocate taking a global view
of what *combination* of in-person, remote, and automated interfaces
make sense for different kinds of customers. They present a framework
for understanding these interface *systems*, case studies that
illustrate when they're working well and when they aren't, and a set of
practical tools for diagnosing the overall health of your own
organization's interfaces. Marketspace Advisory then applies these
ideas for specific clients to help realize the gains in customer
retention, referrals, and service costs everyone expected. Jeffrey
helpfully boils it down to three words: "Improving Corporate
Is this description useful to you? It's pretty interesting to me.
For the last six years, I've been living at the intersection of firms
and organizations like ArsDigita that developed world-changing
software, and firms like Razorfish that help clients make the most of
it. Home truths for me have been that "online" can't be viewed in
isolation, but rather extends "offline" and that organizations need to
look at how to blend both in their operations. Also, I've observed
that successful efforts (business and otherwise) on the Web and
elsewhere are built on community-oriented "structured collaboration"
concepts, which depend not just on value to be exchanged, but on trust
and affinity among the exchangers, and ease of use too. And, I've had
the opportunity to build sales and marketing organizations to help grow
businesses based on these ideas, and to work with terrific clients to
realize their promise. I'm excited now to join a first-class team with shared passions, to do great work and further build a great business.
I hope to hear from you if your interests run to these issues as well.