on November 30, 2011
If you are in marketing in any capacity and haven't read this book, buy it now! This takes a good look at consumer behavior and what they are doing BEFORE they ever interact with a company. Want to know how people get their information on how they buy, read this. This will give you a new perspective and have you thinking differently about how you interact with your customers/clients.
on October 27, 2011
It is one thing to know and completely another to be aware. Everybody know the dangers of mountain climbing but only the trained are aware of them. In the same way, we all know the effects e-commerce has had on our lives. This book will make you aware of them. And only the aware will make the right choices for their company. So, take time to read this book plan for your firm's digital strategy.
on October 11, 2011
As someone new to social media and pre-commerce (I engage in it constantly on the web) the book gave me a good sense of the changes taking place. Bob Pearson is an engaging writer with some personal anecdotes along with sound advice make this book quite informative. The audience is clearly geared toward upper level executives who make decisions about strategy and IT for their company.
I enjoyed the chapter on The Evolution of E-Commerce and becoming a pre-commerce company. The book is littered with practical advice from other experts and case studies that help point the reader in the right direction if they are new to social media. The author reminds us that Facebook is the third largest market behind China and India. The author goes on to remind us to understand search engines and to know the top five questions asked by your customers on Google, Bing, YouTube, and other sites.
Using virtual hikers, some key thoughts are 1% actually generate content, 9% share the content with others, and 90% just soak it in and learn from it. This is the 1-9-90 ratio. "Most customers are just hiking, but they have their eyes and ears open to everyone around them."
Other good reminders are Meet the New Influencers, Building Ambassadors for Your Brands, and Customer Support. A couple of slow chapters that did not dig too deep, but overall a good book that will get someone thinking about social media and the new (and current) generation of consumers.
on September 14, 2011
Pre-Commerce author Bob Pearson articulates ideas and philosophies that have been floating around in my head for years. I was so grateful to hear him speak 8 Sep 2011 in Chicago at the Business Marketing Association. His message was clear and personally excellent timing for me (it bolstered my pitch to a client a few days later). Mostly, I enjoyed the depth of the material since, IMO (in my opinion) most biz books are yawners with only 1-3 fortune cookie points extrapolated into 230-odd pages. The highlighting and underlining I've done are non-stop in Pre-Commerce.
Defined: Pre-commerce is a world where our goal is to form a relationship that is relevant at any point in time in the life of a consumer, as they think, talk, and act related to our brands. We are becoming partners in new ways that are long lasting and highly valuable.
Simple gist: think of how we buy cars now. We arrive at a dealership armed with Kelly Blue Book price points, re-sale value, product reviews; everything we want to know already to purchase a car, a significant purchase. We're showing up simply to test drive and begin the dance of negotiation. This process comes after hours and weeks of marinating in our own research. Heck, we even research which dealer has the best reputation in the community (customer reviews on YELP, philanthropy, etc.). The transaction is miniscule compared to the precommerce activity we have already invested. Ergo, pre-commerce.
Solid example citing "Minority Report." 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. What exactly are they finding? How many of your existing customers are never coming back because they have found a better, more personalized way to research and buy what they need? Do you know? Do you know there are ways to find out?
Some great lines and takeaways to share (main takeaways are neatly organized and emphasized in attention grabbing gray shaded sections of the book, e.g., bulleted points below are from page 24), though this book is definitely worth buying, actually reading, sharing, and taking action:
1. Who drives innovation for your firm?
Where do you get your new ideas for new products / services?
- Customers are your co-pilot.
- How can our teams learn directly from the customers?
- How can we analyze feedback/insights to develop a co-created product driven by consumers?
2. How recent is your customer-insight data?
How rapidly is it aging?
- Using real-time data gathered 24/7 from millions of consumers?
- Or, are we looking at highly processed, outdated results?
- Processed results are like processed food, find the fresh stuff.
3. When was the last time that your executives or your reports talked with a customer?
- A passionate leader's enthusiasm is wasted if they don't know HOW to interact with customers in a persistent, positive way.
4. Who are your Influencers?
Do you have a list of your top 100 customers, B2B and B2C?
- Brand ambassadors carry a lot of weight in a social world.
- Do we know the influence they wield?
- How quickly can you contact them to advocate for you?
IF your organization can answer these questions on how to make itself relevant to customers, THEN we will build a strategic advantage at the expense of our rivals.
Other highlights that set the stage and tone of the book:
>> Our goal is to become a relevant in their communities.
>> When consumers get to know a brand well, it can start to become part of their lifestyle, or at least the lifestyle to which they aspire.
>> Partners are willing to teach. Peers share information that is valuable. Companies who will lead in pre-commerce will do BOTH.
>> Companies that form relationships with consumers that go beyond the transaction will become relevant peers, and relevant peers are going to be the ones who have the highest brand loyalty and advocacy.
>> What is needed, is a MINDSET SHIFT to realize that CONSUMERS CAN FIND EVERYTHING THEY NEED WITHOUT EVER SPEAKING WITH US. The old days are just that.
>> Consider what your teams could achieve if they could identify the EXACT LANGUAGE PEOPLE USE WHEN THEY'RE STUDYING YOUR PRODUCTS. Then, imagine how you could USE THAT RECOGNITION TO SCRAPE ALL THOSE CONVERSATIONS INTO A FOLDER YOUR SALES PEOPLE COULD USE TO REACH OUT TO THOSE CUSTOMERS IN REAL TIME. Those tools already exist. (IMO, think Salesforce's Chatter and new Social Enterprise).
In closing, the author's close relationship with Michael Dell and how he exchanged ideas with him demonstrated to me that (unlike so many biz book charlatans) he's not a guy just selling a book to get speaking time for ego stroking. Pearson literally is delivering a key message that, for most savvy business folks, is "just in time." Thanks Bob for sharing your wisdom.
- The Marketing Mad Man
on June 18, 2011
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.
on March 15, 2011
I met the author of this book at the South By Southwest conference in Austin yesterday, and received a copy of the book as well. I've been reading it since yesterday and wanted to share an early endorsement. If you are in sales, marketing, management or otherwise care about your company and its survival, buy this book and begin to study it. Precommerce defines in very clear terms the role customers now have in making decisions about your products, people, company and brand. And how companies must acknowledge that traditional marketing (eg: the 4Ps) are now virtually obsolete in a world where customers and potential customers can interact directly and in communities across the web often without ever visiting your corporate web site, reading your sales materials, etc.
Buy this book. Read it. Discuss it. Precommerce should become a new term in business in order to understand what customers are doing today BEFORE they buy -- or make the decision not to.