The following article (we didn't write the title) was published in Bottom Line, a publication of TEC (The Executive Committee), an international organization of more than 4,000 CEO's. TEC increases the effectiveness of CEO's by bringing in speakers on subjects of interest and then having executive sessions where CEO's can discuss their vital issues with their peers.
TEC member companies range in size from $3 million to more than $1 billion. TEC members are organized into groups of no more than 14 members who meet monthly for a full-day session.
When Mark Bazrod (TEC 346-Philadelphia), president of LPI Software Funding Group, Inc., decided to set up a page on the World Wide Web, he had high hopes that it would attract new clients to his software leasing firm. He just didn't expect such quick results.
A month after it was up and running, the Web page generated calls from two potential clients, one of whom has since signed a contract. And within two days of advertising some excess computer equipment on the page, Bazrod received 10 inquiries. Since his October 1995 launch, Bazrod has dozens of potential customers "in the pipeline" thanks to the Web site.
The ability to connect with prospects and customers through the Internet, Bazrod believes, will radically change the way most companies do business.
"Web pages are the marketing wave of the future," he asserts. "Within five years, if you don't have an Internet site, you'll be playing second fiddle to those who do. Maybe not on the consumer side, but definitely on the business-to-business side. When our Web page hadn't even been up two months, it had already paid for itself."
Speed and Flexibility
A specialized part of the Internet, the World Wide Web consists of various "Web sites" that users can dial into. Companies set up their own sites, or pages, by having an internal dedicated computer or by contracting through an external Internet access provider.
The real power of the Web lies in its ability to easily transmit graphic information, which allows companies to create sophisticated marketing pieces on the Internet for interested readers. The result is an effective, low-cost communication tool that benefits business and Internet users.
"Flexibility and speed of access make the Web a very powerful tool," says Bazrod. "Every time you change a conventional brochure or direct mail package, you incur additional production, printing and mailing costs. But if you have all that information tailored to a Web site, you simply change it on the Web at a fraction of the time and expense.
"On the user side, the Web's hyper-link programming language allows you to shift from one Web site to another at the click of a mouse button, providing almost instantaneous access to vast amounts of information."
According to Bazrod, an effective Web page must do more than market a firm's products or services; it must also provide high-quality information that benefits the reader. It should also be updated on a regular basis so readers have a reason to return.
"We designed and built our Web page around the benefits of leasing software in general, not just on LPI," says Bazrod. "In addition to some marketing information, our page has a glossary of leasing terms, tips on leasing and success stories about companies that have solved problems by leasing software."
A recent article Bazrod wrote on the Intranet, which is Internet communications within a company, doubled the number of "hits" (visits to a Web site) that LPI received. Now, his company's Web site is averaging 8,000 hits per month.
"The idea is to provide content that adds value for the reader, so they keep coming back to your page. Once they perceive you as a source of useful information, they're going to want to do business with you."
TEC Network Provides Knowledge, Comfort
Prior to creating LPI's Web page, Bazrod knew little about the technical aspects of the World Wide Web. So before proceeding, he consulted the TEC Network.
Bazrod hooked up with nine members who provided tips on setting up a page, finding a good access provider and spreading the word about his Web site. They also shared insights into the costs involved in setting up a page and the pros and cons of using outside help.
As a result, Bazrod and his team were able to design, build and program the page without any consulting help. The project cost less than $1,000 out of pocket, and the lessons learned by keeping it internal more than offset the substantial time investment. "The response from the TEC Network was tremendous. They answered every question we had," recalls Bazrod. "But the biggest benefit was finding out that we were heading down the right path. Whenever you set out to explore new territory, you always wonder if you're missing something important. To have others say that you're moving in the right direction gives you a lot of comfort."
© LPI Software Funding Group, Inc.
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February 27, 2006