Top positive review
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A very good Web marketing book
on March 27, 2002
This is one of the better books I've read on Web marketing. Some of Sterne's best advice comes in Chapter 1 when he writes, "Having a site that's cool and looks sharp is fine if that's all your target market is really after. The game, though, will go to those who come up with unique services. If you have to choose between fun, interesting, or useful, useful wins. Every time. Hands down."
Sterne starts the book talking about the basic questions in marketing: What are you trying to sell? Who are you trying to sell it to? And, what do they really want? He gives some good advice on working through the process of answering these questions and relates these issues well to Web related marketing. Chapter 3 is a great chapter on usability issues. It's refreshing to see a marketing guy like Sterne give so much attention to usability. There are ample references to Jakob Nielsen's research into usability issues, mixed with Sterne's own good thinking on the subject.
In the middle chapters of the book, Sterne talks about the different ways to effectively use the unique aspects of the Web --interactivity and personalization -- to market to your customers. I particularly liked his discussion of interactivity and flow in Chapter 4. He then goes on to discuss the use of the Web to do customer management and dedicates a whole chapter to partner relationship management. These are probably my least favorite sections of the book. He does give some good examples of companies effectively using the Web for this purpose, but I don't think the chapters on CRM and PRM where very thorough or insightful.
The last few chapters are dedicated to measuring the effectiveness of your Web marketing effort, managing your site, and what the future holds. In the chapter on measuring effectiveness, Sterne talks about the cost to reach and ultimately acquire a customer through your marketing efforts. The following information on Web log analysis was kind of thin, but Sterne does do a pretty good job discussing "The Softer Side of Assessment" like measuring customer satisfaction and reputation management. The chapter on managing your site was thin at best. For site management, I'd recommend Jessica Burdman's book, "Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams."
Overall, I'd give Sterne an A on this book effort. The first half of the book is very, very good. The last few chapters felt somewhat rushed. Granted, Sterne picked some chapter topics that should be book topics, but even the summarized information didn't seem well put together. Maybe Jim was getting tired, or maybe I was getting tired. I finished reading this book on a red-eye flight home.