The Friction-Free Economy: Marketing Strategies for a Wired World

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9780887308475: The Friction-Free Economy: Marketing Strategies for a Wired World
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Imagine a world where supply no longer equals demand. A world where a company craving greater market share gives away its most valuable product -- and generates millions of dollars. A world where the company that boasts the greatest chunk of consumer demand experiences even more demand; where the antagonistic relationship between buyer and seller has been replaced with a cooperative, knowledge-based exchange; where companies in every industry think like futurists, personalize products and services regardless of cost, target individuals rather than blanket the masses, and renovate old products instead of just creating new ones.

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According to T. G. Lewis, the rules of marketing are undergoing revolution--and those companies marketing in accordance with the old rules are doomed. Lewis defines a friction-free economy as one that assumes a zero production and distribution cost, with no competitors and infinite resources. A key component of Lewis's friction-free economy marketing is getting major market share fast, known as mainstreaming, as the company that becomes mainstream first becomes extremely difficult to dislodge. Lewis uses America Online as an example. He describes how the company flooded the marketplace with free access to its service and ended up with the lion's share of available consumers. As a result, America Online continues to grow because, in a friction-free economy, the greater your market share, the greater it becomes.

While Lewis's strategy is most visible in the computer world proper, Lewis also cites examples of businesses as diverse as fast food restaurants and car dealerships that are using the wired world to gain the friction-free economy advantage. These businesses focus on smaller groups of customers rather than broadcasting to the masses, giving away what other companies would sell and inverting the classic rule of supply and demand. In addition to covering the mechanics of the emerging economy, Lewis discusses the strategies that will enable businesses to succeed, whether they are the first in or have to carve out their position against tough competition.

About the Author:

Ted Lewis is currently Chairman of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, and President/Owner of Technology Assessment Group (TAG), a private company dedicated to tailored research and analysis of computer systems technology with emphasis on the software industry. Lewis has a varied background in computer technology spanning academic, industrial, government, and private organizations. He writes a bi-monthly column called "The Binary Critic," for Computer magazine. The former editor-in-chief of IEEE Software, Lewis holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

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