The art of marketing ranges from finger paintings worthy of the refrigerator to Picassos deserving of museum walls. Of course, the real genius is in divining what product or service should be offered to which customer at what time and at what price.
To that end, the books in this Stack Attack take various routes. Some paint themselves into corners. Others are connect-the-dot generalizations that can orient the reader and simplify a very confusing landscape, but are dangerous if applied mechanically in all situations. But some offer really interesting, complex, and nearly brilliant takes on intricate issues. That doesn't mean, however, that the solutions offered will be palatable (Net Gain is difficult to execute) or applicable to all business sectors (Revenue Management is geared toward the travel and hospitality industry) but like all great pieces of art, they're worth a serious look.
Not Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communication
John Hagel III and Arthur G. Armstrong Harvard Business School Press, Boston
Authors' Credentials: Both McKinsey & Co. consultants
Thesis: The power (commercial and otherwise) of on-line networks ultimately comes from the connections they make between and among people.
Scope: Turn of the century to the near future
File Under: Manifesto: More power to the people
Reason to Buy/Read: Authors present the first cogent, thought-out, truly forward-looking strategies for how businesses need to think about and deal with the Internet. They offer what they think are the keys to exploiting the new market opportunity on-line: combining content and communication - not just between You and Them, but, more importantly, among the customers. The authors don't just drop bombs without context; in all cases, they readily offer the detailed assumptions behind their major arguments. Plus, they grapple with the numbers and real-figure estimates of what this new media and the new strategic approaches they propose will cost.
Unintended Effect: Direct marketers and publishers will have the advantage in the cyberworld by virtue of their data (in the case of the former) and their content-mentality (in the case of the latter).
Placement in Your Life: Close to the vest: One of those new-ways-of-thinking, which if I propose to my company will get me either fired or promoted to chairman of the board
How to Read: Be warned, the book is not a passive interpretation of the 'Net world, but …