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Creative showcase: Web business

Web business | Viva la revolution! With the nature of business changing almost before our eyes, it’s time to take it online—or be left behind.

Viva la revolution! With the nature of business changing almost before our eyes, it’s time to take it online—or be left behind.

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email ben@idealog.co.nz

How long do you intend to stay in business? A year, ten years? Maybe even 20 or more? If the exponential changes of the past two decades are anything to go by, you have a lot to look forward to.

Twenty years ago, being in business was a very different beast. While the internet did exist, the world wide web—a way to link sites and search them via a browser—was just being developed. Offices had packed up the Telex machines a few years earlier and bored workers were now faxing each other cartoons and jokes (LOLcats were but a distant dream). Fax broadcasting was also an effective marketing tool, as we wouldn’t get our own email addresses for a few more years, in the mid-90s.

By then, only giant corporates had websites and the phrase ‘surfing the net’ was new and clever. Next, ecommerce really took off, give or take a little anxiety about sending your credit card details into ‘cyberspace’. Life was already changing fast.

It’s hard to imagine a world without Google, but it was born little more than ten years ago, just before the turn of the century—and Google AdWords along with it. The online world was coming up with innovations thick and fast now. After the near-miss of the Y2K bug came the invention of blogging, and Web 2.0 was all the rage, but no one had yet heard of social media. Then MySpace, You Tube and Facebook emerged in the middle of the decade and Twitter burst onto the scene a mere two years ago. Marketing your business was now a far cry from the simpler days of 20 years ago.

Today, the recent recession means more companies are doing more business online. Thanks to the web, businesses have launched into new markets, developed new marketing tools and improved efficiencies.

With the online world accelerating at such a pace, you need to ensure you’re not left behind—and not just today. Who knows where the online environment will be next year, let alone in a decade or two? If you don’t keep up with the times, you may as well stick with the Telex machine.

According to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise document Planning for Success, “It goes without saying that unless you plan what your business is going to achieve it is difficult—if not impossible—to manage it effectively. It is therefore good practice to get into the habit of regularly thinking about the future of your business and to write down your key objectives and how you intend to make them happen.

“Your business success depends on your ability to supply a product or service to meet demand. But the marketplace does not stand still—it is constantly evolving. It is therefore essential that you rethink your business plan regularly to ensure your business keeps pace with the competition and with the changing expectations of your customers.”

Yet for many business people and marketers, doing business online remains largely unexplored and often mysterious. So Idealog has invited online business experts to share their success stories and show the way forward.

The case studies from web business and marketing experts show how they have helped their clients implement successful Internet strategies such as creating online marketing strategies, building communities, reinventing themselves through the web, and using the internet as an internal tool for efficiency and innovations.

The power of the internet to transform traditional business is obvious. But how can it work here, in New Zealand, in 2010 and beyond?

Download the complete Creative Showcase.