Companies in 21st century have to adapt to ever changing environment. At present, companies represent a curious mix of old as well as the new economy. A great deal of research has already been done with respect to the old economy, but for the new economy, companies are learning it rather hard way. Companies have to choose elements from old and new economy wisely as to build a business model which would bring value to the company.
Technology revolution, globalization and market deregulation factors are among many sculpting the new economy. These 3 factors interact with each other at different levels creating the driving force for the new economy. The old economy was full of analog devices, which were running on a continuous signal wave, for example, gramophone records. In today’s world systems and devices are running on digital technology where information is carried in ones and zeroes. However, this digital information cannot be exchanged between devices without connectivity through wire or wireless networks. This connectivity is achieved through intranet, extranet and internet.
Internet allowed players like Yahoo, Amazon, ebay to offer products like music, books, apparel, etc. directly to customers. This move de-stabilized the traditional distributors and retailers causing some to shut down their business. However, some of the players developed online portals to offer their products and services which in turn de-stabilized new online players. Some of the old players were successful with help of their brand strength and poor business models of pure online players.
In the old economy focus was only on standardization, mass production and singular marketing policy. However, with the amount of information available in the new economy, companies are best at understanding consumers. This better understanding has led to customized products, a shift from standardization. However, this customization has its drawbacks not only for companies but also for customer. Companies find it difficult to maintain the cost level for customized products to register profit. Customization is impossible for products, which require complex industrial engineering. Customer does not know real product appearance until it fully completed and also return policy is not there in customization.
The new functioning of economy has changed the way companies approach their business. Companies are looking forward to expanding across market segments to get maximum market share while keeping focus strictly on customer needs. For these companies are making organizational changes where departments are developed to manage a segment rather than a product. Companies are looking forward to developing consumer based brand equity to foster long term relation. Companies are coming up with products, which perform superior than consumer expectation there by creating a strong brand while the earlier branding task was accomplished through advertising. Companies are treating employees, distribution channel, and suppliers as their business partner and not customer.
Since companies have changed the way they function in the new economy, it is imperative that marketing practices also adapt. As consumers are looking forward going online for major of their purchase, businesses are looking towards electronic commerce (e-commerce) as a way forward. Research has shown online users usually buy music, software, books, apparel, etc. rather than goods like automobiles, house, etc. Business buyers are also coming online as well as suppliers, thereby substantially reducing the establishment cost. E-Commerce has also open doors for customer to customer relation through social networking and community forums, in which experience and discussion are done with respect to products. Through internet consumers are able to provide faster feedback to companies with respect to products and services.
As businesses are moving online, the focus shifts to developing of web sites to provide reliable and correct experience to consumers. Web site design, maintenance and security are of paramount importance for creating a favorable impression on consumer. Online marketing and advertisement have got prominence in this internet age.
The new economy had brought forward challenges and opportunities not only for companies but also for consumer.
BY – AASHUTOSH KHANDELWAL