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Now or Never: How Companies Must Change to Win the Battle for Internet Consumers Hardcover – December 8, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The hype and market valuations surrounding certain Internet stocks may lead one to conclude that the e-commerce race is over--or nearly so. Clearly, the Internet has caught traditional companies off guard, giving the more nimble dot coms a huge head start. But the race is far from over, says Mary Modahl, a vice president at Forrester Research. In Now or Never, she argues that we are in the first year of a "ten year transition in the way consumers shop and save," and that winning in the Internet space not only requires identifying consumers that are most likely to take their shopping online, but exploiting the new and different business models made possible by online commerce.

Modahl believes that conventional demographics, which segment populations according to their income and education, is a poor predictor of online behavior. As an alternative, she advances Forrester Research's work on "technographics," which measure consumers' attitudes toward technology. Forrester has found that 52 percent of the population is optimistic about technology and is "marching happily towards online shopping," and she shows how companies can better target their marketing strategies to meet this growing legion of consumers. In addition, Modahl considers the "post-Internet competitive environment," which she thinks will be "far more fluid and responsive to changes in supply and demand." Using examples of traditional industries that have had their business models turned upside down by Internet economies--newspapers, travel agencies, and brokerages--Modahl offers ways that the old guard can better cope with technology change, channel conflict, and their own inertia toward this new marketplace.

Well written and presented, Now or Never is a concise distillation of Forrester Research's approach to e-commerce. Anyone whose livelihood is connected to--or threatened by--the relentless march of the Internet would do well to read and consider this book. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

Modahl, an analyst at Forrester Research, has spent the past several years researching the impact of the Internet on business, using questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. To make sense of the marketplace, she has developed a concept she calls "Technographics," an approach that examines and ranks computer users by their comfort level with technology and how likely they are to use the Internet. This scheme yields three basic users: Early Adoptees, Mainstream Users and Laggards. These groups can be further broken down into such subgroups as "Handshakers, successful professionals with low technology tolerance"; "Gadget Grabbers, lower-income consumers focused on tech-based entertainment"; and "New-Age Nurturers, affluent believers in technology for family and education." Understanding this segmentation model, argues Modahl, is vital for companies eager to remain profitable. Asked how companies should organize their Internet efforts, Modahl says the answer "depends on a company's consumer Technographics, on the speed and nature of business model change in their industry, and on the ability of the organization to fund Internet set-up costs." Writing with the authority gained from her research as well as common sense from her viewpoint as an online consumer, Modahl offers persuasive arguments for both Internet startups and existing bricks-and-mortar companies to rethink their approach to online service. 25-city-radio tour; author tour. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1st edition (December 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066620120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066620121
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,560,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, the title does a disservice to the extraordinarily valuable content of the book that bears that name. Those with extensive experience in the so-called E-conomy have learned (with the scar tissue to prove it) that words like "always" and "never" are irresponsible. So much for the title. Modahl writes with great skill. She has assembled a wealth of material which is Consumers (everything starts there...without such understanding, it probably ends there), Exploiting Internet Business Models (as Derek Bok once observed, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance"), and then Defying the Gravity of the Old Ways of Doing Business (much easier said than done but imperative nonetheless). Modahl then provides an Appendix in which she examines "Technographics Methodology." I strongly recommend that, periodically, this Appendix be re-read in light of the certain and sometimes major changes which will occur in the E-conomy.
Informed by what seems to be an avalanche of real-world evidence, Modahl identifies five "alarming" trends:
-New pricing models that undermine existing revenues.
-Higher customer-service expectations.
-New ways to distribute products.
-Unexpected market opportunities.
-High rates of entry--even in very staid markets.
Given these trends, what to do? Modahl offers all manner of options, in combination with specific suggestions as to how "the battle for Internet consumers" can be won while retaining long-term value in an Internet business. Some of the winners will be traditional companies; others will be dotcoms. Modahl asserts that "The past is not what will drive the future." Some may agree with William Faulkner who observed, " The past isn't even the past yet.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a rarity. It is a book that deals with and discusses technology, research and marketing in a very readable manner. I sat down and blasted thru 60-65 pages in no time. The content makes sense. For anyone interested in tapping into the untapped market of online cutomers Forrester are the pros. They have been THE Internet research company for years. I have met Mary Modahl and have seen her present. She knows what she is talking abut and it comes through in this book. The first 65 pages are worth the price of the book alone. All of us who are in 'the business' think we know the business. Not true. We are in the forest and much step back and get fresh ideas, a fresh perspective. We don't really KNOW who are customers are and how to reach them This book can give us a clearer understanding of how to attract them and where to find them. Running banner ads all over the place isn't going to cut it anymore. One of the fun things about the book is how she defines Internet users. I laughed when she described my habits. They were 100% accurate, dead-on! Scary when you think about it. And I wasn't even one of the 250,000 people they interviewed. Spend the money, read the book, keep it in your library and share this information with your boss
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Format: Hardcover
Well written book. The 1st part does get a bit boring with too much information and too many charts and graphs. Also, the research is very US based. The net is supposed to break boundaries.
But parts 2 and 3 are excellent. This is better than Customers.com. Very well thought with the exact amount of data and information. A must for anyone who is still sleeping and has not figured out how to leverage and profit from the net chaos. Over all a great job and the book is well worth the price.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Modahl has written a clear, concise, and (mostly) jargon-free primer that instructs business managers, strategists, and consultants in the basics of Internet consumer behavior. She bases her analysis on research done by Forrester Research, where she is VP of Research. The benefit she brings to the interpretation of Forrester's research is her clarity of presentation, and her ability to move from general statisitics to recommendations for the creation of competitive Internet business models. She also does a good job in expounding the factors that inhibit successful "brick & mortar" enterprises from migrating to the net.
I gove it 4 stars rather than five because it is very high-level, without a lot of real implementation advice or underlying analysis. She presents a set of 3-5 'rules' in each section, but they are a bit glib and make it seem that implementation of her conclusions should be straightforward, but anyone who's tried to build an Internet enterprise knows it's not quite that simple.
Not withstanding these minor criticisms, this book belongs in the library of every entrepreneur, manager, or consultant that must understand Internet consumer behavior and apply that to the creation of competitive advantage.
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Format: Hardcover
Now or Never offers an invaluable perspective on branding on the Net. While rich with statistics, I found the book highly readable. You come away with a clearer understanding that the web economy is more than a race for eyeballs - getting people to a site is just the first step. The kind of experience they have there and your ability to target your market correctly and effectively will determine the success of an e-business. I consider this one a must not only for e-tailers but for anyone who invests in internet businesses at any level.
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