Pre-Commerce: How Companies and Customers are Transforming Business Together

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John Wiley & Sons, Feb 8, 2011 - Business & Economics - 300 pages
Ideas for leaders to engage directly with customers to shape their brand and marketplace success

Since its debut E-commerce has been centered on the transaction, which represents less than one percent of the time we spend online. Now, we are entering the era of Pre-Commerce where customers make their own decision to buy or support a brand before the transaction. Pre-Commerce explains how the exploding use of social media channels has fundamentally changed the way customers go about making their purchasing decisions, how they educate themselves and why they choose to support certain brands above others. It shows what executives must do to re-create the way their companies interact with and learn from their customers, employees and competitors. It includes exclusive interviews and anecdotes Pearson has conducted or experienced with numerous influential C-suite executives during his time as leader of Dell's global social media team and as a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, worldwide.

  • Offers a step-by-step process for leaders to apply this knowledge to begin transforming their companies, right now
  • Begins with a foreword from Mark Addicks, Chief Marketing Officer, General Mills
  • Over 25 Fortune 500 executives interviewed, including special side-bar interviews with Michael Dell and Marc Benioff
  • Explores the concept of "Pre-commerce"--the customer's decision making happens well before a transaction takes place and continues after the transaction, representing 99% of time spent online, often outside a company's reach today
  • Shows how to build internal employee networks and how to take your first and most important steps to integrate social media throughout your company.

Pearson reveals that the best ideas are often free and the technology needed is rarely a cost-issue. Instead, it's a matter of the top executive deciding to adopt a new way of engaging directly with its customers.


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Marketers still tend to focus most of their efforts on the activity that's immediately before a new revenue opportunity closes and ultimately ends in a sale. In contrast, this book is primarily about all the research, consideration and time that a person might invest in the earlier stages of the buying-cycle.
The book's liner notes explain the context this way; "Since its debut, e-commerce has been centered on the transaction, which represents less than one percent of the time we spend online. The other ninety-nine percent is referred to (by the author) as Pre-Commerce - a time where customers make their own decisions to buy or support a brand before and after the transaction, with or without a company's involvement."
Granted, a key focal point of Bob Pearson's first book is about the rise of social media, and its application within the marketing, sales and customer service organizations - but I would consider its inherent value to be viewed more broadly. It's also about re-engineering front-line business processes - with the intent to meet the info needs of today's discerning retail consumer or savvy corporate procurement professional.
The author succinctly states the current market reality at the beginning of chapter one. "Companies today have to reach customers long before they commit to their purchases, because customers are making decisions before they arrive at your store or home page."
It seems to me that Bob Pearson has devoted this book to helping legacy marketers understand how to ensure that their organization is producing content that enables a customer to purchase something that's a best-fit for their needs. He also explains, by sharing numerous case study examples, how to engage with your stakeholders online and give them the opportunity to participate in improving the product or service you offer.
Like most how-to oriented business books, the notion of Pre-Commerce was developed around a new model, called the four A's - awareness, assessment, action and ambassadors. This model provides a useful guide for most marketers to be prepared to put these forward-looking communication concepts into practice.
Mr. Pearson concludes the final chapter with the following insight. He says "I didn't write this book to give you all the answers - no one can do that. Nothing stands still in the Pre-Commerce marketplace, so business leaders constantly must learn it anew."
If learning where to begin the process of marketing communications evolution is where you're at today, then this book will likely be a good starting point for you.


Its Not As Hard As It Might Seem
TheMove from MarketResearch
The Tectonic Plates of the PreCommerce
Spam and Security
Social Media Communities
Building The Road From Idea To Product
Customer Support
Politics and Business
Creating Your Intellectual Network
Antibodies Enablers and Heroes
Getting Started

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About the author (2011)

Bob Pearson is chief technology and media officer at WCG, a global communications com- pany. He is past president of and vice chair of the State of Texas Emerging Technology Fund. He also serves on the Procter & Gamble Digital Advisory Board, the Pfizer U.S. Health Advisory Board, and as an advisor to MyEdu and UserVoice. Formerly, he was vice president of Communities and Conversations at Dell and head of global communications at Novartis. He is a frequent blogger, speaker, and columnist, living in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two daughters.

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