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