Focus on Technology

Undoubtedly customer feedback is the best testimonial to any company's success. In Britain, the electrical retailer Comet in August 2008 launched its new website. They encouraged customers to take a thorough look around before it went live, it also asked them to provide Comet with feedback through a specially set-up online forum. The website itself was linked to their current home page and was fully functional. Customers could pass through the whole of the purchasing process on the new site. At the end of the purchasing, customers are then asked to click to go to the online forum so that they can leave their comments about the look and functionality of the new site.

The idea was that customers could see the website before it went live and replaced the old purchasing process. Strictly speaking this is not an example of a Web 2.0 exercise, rather a BETA version of a new product or service. It is invaluable as It can sit alongside the existing system and can provide the business with knowledge about the customer base and their views.

In the view of the business, a website should be constantly adapting and reacting to the needs of its customers, the feedback provides vital data so that it can continue to evolve and improve.

1. Explore the Web sites of other companies to learn how they get feedback from their customers. Start by clicking on "Contact Us," links on the sites, and then dig deeply to see if you can find a place where each company accepts feedback and ideas. Write a brief report based on what you find.

2. Discuss other ways in which businesses can use the Internet to create greater customer value.

focus on Ethics

Did you drive a car today? Use a laptop computer? Buy a product in a store? If so, you emitted carbon dioxide (CO2) and created a carbon footprint. All of us do that every day. Individuals and companies emit carbon dioxide in everyday activities. Many consumers feel bad about doing this; others expect companies to take action. What's the answer? Reducing carbon emissions is one solution, but another one is to offset your carbon emissions by purchasing carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates (RECs). Individual consumers do this, and companies are flocking to purchase carbon offsets for themselves or to offer to their customers, resulting in an estimated $100 million market. And experts predict exponential growth over the next few years. Airlines routinely offer flyers the option of paying a few extra dollars to offset their carbon emissions. For example, Virgin Atlantic Airways has launched a Gold Standard Carbon Offset Scheme that allows passengers to contribute to environmental projects in India and Indonesia. Donations range from approximately $9 (economy) to approximately $15.60 (upper class).

1. Learn more about carbon offsets and discuss four examples of how businesses are using them. In your opinion, are these companies embracing the societal marketing concept?

2. One criticism of carbon offsetting is that companies are not really helping the environmental by changing their own behavior; instead they're merely buying "environmental pardons." Do you think carbon offsets are a responsible solution to environmental concerns? Write a brief essay debating this issue.

3. Guyana offered up the entirety of its remaining forest cover as a giant carbon offset. How and why?

marketing by the numbers

Not all customers pay their bills on time, while others are considered to be extremely high maintenance. Simply getting rid of customers that fall into these categories is not always the answer. How will valued customers view the policy? It is never easy for a business to try and assess the value of customers, particularly the long-term value of the customer. It is possible to use a fairly simple net present value calculation. To determine a basic customer lifetime value, each stream of profit is discounted back to its present value (PV) and then totaled. The basic equation for calculating net present value (NPV) is as follows:

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Meeting Realistic Goals Can Be Easy if You Have the Right Understanding of the Process. The Reason So Many People Fail at Meeting Their Goals is Because They Have a Confused Understanding of Realistic Goal Setting and Self-Motivation Methodology.

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