Playing the `Web Wild Cards.'

Oliva, Ralph A.
March 1998
Marketing Management;Spring98, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p51
This article focuses on tools for marketers to reduce cost, transform relationships, open new channels and streamline process and contribute to shareholder value, made available by the World Wide Web. This innovations create discontinuities that change the ground rules of electronic commerce and may work to the marketers' advantage or disadvantage, depending on how well they prepare them. As more marketers build hard-working Web sites, some are experimenting with emerging online technologies. Custom intelligent agents are also becoming more commonplace. They are a marketplace discontinuity, eliminating conventional information boundaries. The right product showing up at the right price and at the right time could become outdated overnight as intelligent agents work 24 hours a day examining news options. Slow-moving marketers will have no place to hide from price pressure. But intelligent agents also create dynamic new opportunities for marketing managers who seize the initiative. Agents will reduce ambiguity in markets as they ferret out pricing information and screen options for marketers and customers alike. Those who play this wild card will understand that intelligent agents are out there searching for them, differing their products and services so that they appear as best choices according to the set of filters customers set. The real innovators create wild cards by manipulating content, context, and infrastructure elements, making up new rules and moving the market in directions favorable to them.


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