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A company’s strategy is the game plan business owners and management use to position their organization in its chosen market area, to compete successfully, satisfy customers, and achieve good business performance.

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Developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, for better or worse, it drives the direction of your business. You should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place. Unfortunately, too many companies don't have a brand strategy, or have an inconsistent brand strategy. A brand strategy company should realize there's probably a good reason you may not be paying attention to your brand strategy--you're busy running your business.

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Starbucks portrays itself as a high quality coffee for the high class and is priced slightly higher than the coffee of Caffe Nero. It stays true to its American originality and emphasizes solely on its wide range of coffee drinks with only a few snacks and desserts. Apart from that, Starbucks distinguishes itself from other cafes by providing a very comfortable atmosphere with facilities like Wi-Fi so their customers can enjoy surfing the web while drinking their coffee.

On the other hand Caffe Nero emphasizes on its Italian blend and portrays itself as not only a café but also a bar and restaurant. It has quite an extensive menu with a variety of popular Italian dishes. Due to this many people visit Caffe Nero to have meals rather than just a cup of coffee. They have brought a pure European vibe to their cafes thus remaining true to their originality. For the convenience of their customers and to add to their attracting they have also launched loyalty cards.

MARKETING STRATEGY:

Marketing strategies help businesses in promoting their products and services in a certain way that they want to. While cashing on their most important points they try to create an image of their brand in the minds of their target customers so as to achieve their target sales and a favorable market share. Marketing strategies help businesses in gaining a competitive edge by catering to those specific niches that others fail to identify. Marketing strategies devised by organizations vary in duration from one year plans to those extending well over many years. A lot of factors are taken into consideration when devising marketing plans and strategies that are defined by the environment within which the company operates. This is most often referred to as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis which helps businesses in pinpointing the areas which they can take advantage of and the areas which they need to be careful of.

The most important factor that any business has to take into consideration, when creating its marketing strategies is its competitors. Competitors' actions have a huge impact on what an organization should do. In the coffee chain industry there are now plenty of independent coffee shops in UK like the most popular Starbucks, Monmouth Coffee, Coffee Aroma, The Apple Tree and Caffe Nero. In this assignment the marketing strategies of both Starbucks and Caffe Nero will be reviewed after which a critical analysis will be given of the both.

STARBUCKS

The first Starbucks outlet was opened in Seattle well over thirty years ago. Today Starbucks proudly stands at $4.1 billion with thousands of outlets not only in the United States but all over the world. Many companies have studied the secrets and strategies adopted by Starbucks in an attempt to learn how Starbucks grew so fast. The marketing strategies being adopted by Starbucks at present will be discussed in this assignment (voteforus.com 2011).

Unique marketing strategy:

The marketing strategy adopted by Starbucks has remained unconventional. They didn't adopt the common styles of advertisement using billboards, newspaper ads or television commercials. Rather they relied on word - of - mouth to promote their brand name.

Product quality:

The most important thing that Starbucks never lost control of is the quality of their coffee beans. They were the first ones to introduce the true Italian "burnt espresso" flavor to the Americans. They justify their high quality by charging a slightly higher price than most other cafes.

Comfortable environment:

Another focus of Starbucks outlets is the environment they provide in their cafes for their customers. Starbucks has always been promoted as that perfect place to relax when out of home and out of the office. They have started offering Wi-Fi connectivity in their outlets so that their customers can browse the internet as well while they enjoy their cup of coffee.

Customer satisfaction:

Customer satisfaction is the strongest favorable point of Starbucks. Each customer that enters a Starbucks outlet is given such a special treatment that they truly feel like they are in a special place.

The Starbucks community:

Starbucks has truly taken full advantage of the latest hype of social media. They have adopted their latest marketing strategies around social media websites like creating fan pages on Facebook and Twitter where they actually respond to all customers and keep in touch by posting pictures, videos and all the latest promotional information.

Innovation:

Starbucks has always kept its menu fresh by constantly coming up with new items and different blends and flavors in their coffee. Some of their latest hit drinks have been the Green Tea Latte considering the health conscious consumers along with iced tea and Frappuccino for their outlets in warmer climates.

Brand Marketing:

Starbucks has always portrayed itself as a high quality product and thus decided to rely on word - of - mouth promotion only. This served to be a quite useful marketing strategy as comparison to going for promotional ads in magazines, newspapers, billboards etc. They have recently begun utilizing the social media websites in the most effective manner ever. Their Facebook and Twitter pages have proved quite useful in promoting the image of Starbucks while also enabling them to have direct communication with all their customers on one platform

CAFFE NERO:

According to chairman of Caffe Nero, Gerry Ford (2008), Caffe Nero Group Ltd is 'the largest independent coffee retailer in UK, with over 400 stores in the UK'. It was founded in the year 1977 and today has its outlets open overseas as well in Turkey and Middle East. They distinguish themselves from other café's in UK by emphasizing on the fact that they are an Italian Coffee Company. Their main aim, as in the words of Gerry Ford (2008), 'is to provide a European style coffee house experience offering premium espresso - based gourmet coffee, authentic Italian food products and a relaxing atmosphere in every store'.

Caffe Nero has been given many awards for its high quality coffee over the years and for its outstanding experience that they deliver in their shops. Tatler has rated Caffe Nero as 'The best espresso this side of Milan while Egon Ronay has labeled it as "The Traditional Italian Café". Caffe Nero has also been given the label by UK consumers as "The best UK Coffee House" in nine consecutive years (Allegra Report, the UK's definitive guide for the coffee industry).

CAFFE NERO'S USP:

The Caffe Nero's marketing strategy mostly emphasis on its unique selling point which is a pure Italian theme. Caffe Nero portrays its self from more than just a café. Rather it has created a perfect blend of a café cum bar and restaurant. Therefore Caffe Nero is not limited to only providing a place for coffee and snacks rather you can go there just to enjoy a meal. They have a wide range of exquisite desserts along with many Italian dishes like the Italian wraps, soups, sandwiches, pasta and paninis.

CAFFE NERO'S TARGET MARKET

Caffe Nero mainly targets tourists in UK or the Italians searching for their Italian taste in cuisine. They are targeting the middle - income group of people who are middle - aged, students or business people who prefer to go to a café during their lunch breaks. Furthermore, Caffe Nero has formed a partnership with the famous chain retail store, House of Fraser, due to which around 145 cafes opened up, many of which were located within House of Fraser stores (James, Situation Analysis of the Caffe Nero Group Ltd - Festive City

Critical Analysis Between the Two Companies

Now that a basic review has been given on the marketing strategies being used by both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, an analysis will be done on what differentiates them from each other.

  • Caffe Nero and Starbucks are direct competitors but Caffe Nero distinguishes itself from Starbucks by selling cheaper coffee than Starbucks.
  • Caffe Nero offers a wider range of food items along with its coffee beverages which makes it stand apart from Starbucks which does not have such a wide range of assortments.
  • Caffe Nero adopts a strong brand positioning by emphasizing on its European - style coffee shop as compared to Starbucks which is of American origin. Caffe Nero has a unique selling point which emphasizes on the cafes continental - style whereas Starbucks is of American style.
  • Starbucks has successfully opened thousands of outlets overseas and in the international market whereas Caffe Nero still lacks in international expertise and has just recently opened its stores in Turkey and the Middle East.
  • Starbucks has plenty of outlets all over UK whereas Caffe Nero does not have sufficient outlets in Central London.
  • Caffe Nero has a lot of potential of growing because it enjoys many unique selling points like its pure European authenticity.

References

1. Ford, G (2008), 'THE BEST ESPRESSO THIS SIDE OF MILAN'

2. Voteforus.com (March 29, 2011) Starbucks Success Is It's Word Of Mouth/Social Media/Viral Marketing Strategy

3. James, S, Situation Analysis of the Caffe Nero Group Ltd - Festive City

4. VoteforUs.com Starbucks Marketing Strategy Unconventionally Effective

5. Kembell, B, Hawks, M, Kembell, S, Perry, L, Olsen, L 2002, 'Catching the Starbucks Fever', Missouri State University. Unpublished.

6. Rajul (2010), 'Starbucks vs Caffe Nero vs Costa: who wins?'

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As a Chief Marketing Offer, its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.

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If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.

The Artificial Intelligence market will expectedly be worth $153 billion in the near future. We are talking about digital revolution here. We are talking about path breaking technological ideas and implementation here. It is going to redefine the way in which humans are going to interact with machines.

Artificial Intelligence in Web Development: Is it even possible?

The stakes are high. The figures are impressive - to say the least. We have got engineers and marketers embarking on diverse plans with AI at the core. Why should developers be left behind? No credentialed web development company would ideally be unaware of the scope of Artificial Intelligence as far as web development is concerned. The consultants should not be unaware of the fact that developers around the world are looking at the possible integration of Intelligence and web development to bolster user experience.

Imagine sitting in front of one of those template designers that you have just signed up for. Expect your "AI designer" to ask you about your preferences with regard to branding, colors, content and layout. Once you have fed the answers to those questions, the template designer, based on the pre-programmed algorithms will automatically go on to create a website, which is the perfect combination of aesthetic and professional appeal.

How will Artificial intelligence go on to facilitate "communication"?

This is what AI can do for web development. Using the AI elements, a developer becomes better adept at catering to users' needs. Since It is known for understanding customer moods and preferences better, web developers will be in a better position to integrate elements that are going to append to the user experience - of course, so that they are more convincingly persuaded to make purchases.

Now, how does this Technique do this? How does it ensure that developers are better adept at catering to buyer needs? It does this with the help of cognitive analysis and situations. Chatbots, for example, have made it possible for web professionals to predict customer reactions. They facilitate better communication with the customers by making the whole (communication) process very simple and hassle-free. The next-generation internet users will actually find it easier to communicate with the website itself. There will be no communication barrier to contend with as such.

With the help of the statistical analysis marketers and other web professionals can actually minimize errors. Processing a large amount of information also becomes easier when communication is facilitated at such level.

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Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:

- identification of broad, large markets

- segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.

Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as "all teenagers are rebels", "all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands" and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.

The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.

STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market

You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.

The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.

STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers' needs

This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.

What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.

Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.

STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets

McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your "typical customer", then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.
Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form - a further step will ask you to name them.

There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.

STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions
Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.

Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.

STEP 5: Name possible segment markets
You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.

A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.

STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments

Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they're still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.

STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment

Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.

Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.

These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.

This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.

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The Internet has an enormous impact on how people communicate, shop, and work. This technology has also created changes in how companies conduct business in the 21st century. One of the areas of business that is likely to see tremendous change in the coming years is supply-chain management. By harnessing the power of the Internet, supply-chain management will continue to evolve in ways that will enable enterprises to change the way they manage inventory, place orders with suppliers, and communicate critical information with each other.

While some of these technologies have existed for years, or decades in the case of radio frequency identification tags, the harnessing of the Internet to these technologies offers the potential for transforming supply-chain management. Improved supply-chain management also means improved inventory control and increased profits.

In 2001, Nike missed its revenue target by a significant dollar amount. The shortfall was explained in part by a failed supply-chain automation project. "Some estimate that new technologies could strip out more than $30 billion in excess inventories" (Fonstad). The term e-business - as distinct from e-commerce - can be used to describe the adoption of the Internet to accelerate the goal of supply-chain integration (Lee) Four emerging technologies and practices in e-business will have a dramatic impact on supply-chain management.

o Virtual marketplaces

o Radio frequency identification tags (RFID)

o Synchronized planning

o Supplier performance management

VIRTUAL MARKET PLACES

MetalJunction is the virtual marketplace owned by two of India's largest steel producers. Tata Steel and Sail Steel traded more than 5,000 tons of steel in March 2002. By March 2003, tonnage had increased to 43,000 tons per month (Mills).

What is a virtual marketplace and what are its applications to industry? Virtual marketplaces have many names such as e-markets, net market places, and electronic markets. These markets all have common characteristics.

o Reliance on the Internet

o Buyers and Sellers come together without an intermediary

o Neutrality (all buyers and sellers are treated the same)

o Information is provided about sellers and products

In its most fundamental form, a virtual market place brings together buyers and sellers through the internet. At its highest level, a virtual market place gives a purchaser and supplier the opportunity to re-engineer the sales administration process, improve forecasting and scheduling, renew its go-to-market approach, shorten its order-to-cash cycle, and enhance customer service (Steel24-7). Ideally, virtual market places are centered on a particular industry. Some prominent examples are steel, agricultural products, and automotive parts. In addition to providing information on vendors and general information about its products, a virtual market may also offer product specifications, side-by-side comparisons, technical papers, and market analysis.

Many challenges exist in setting up an e-marketplace. Primary among these are identifying the tools necessary to use the market, providing a secure environment, pricing, payment, and fulfillment. For an orderly marketplace, Internet protocols must be selected. The cost of the technology to access and engage in the market must not be prohibitive. Security and privacy must be adequate to ensure confidential transactions. Authentication and authorization of users from many organizations must be possible. Private communication must be assured.

Pricing policies may be set or bartered. A common example of bartering, or auctioning, is E-Bay for consumer products. Payment procedures can be predetermined or arranged between the buyer and the seller. Finally, fulfillment of orders must be insured. As in the case of traditional marketplaces, failure to deliver in a timely manner will result in firms losing market power and ultimately may lead to failure (McKnight).

A final issue of concern in virtual markets is jurisdiction and governing law. Virtual markets place its members in the global trading community. Since e-markets are a recent phenomenon, defining the legal system responsible for settling disputes is an evolving process. Current legal reasoning places jurisdiction in the locality of the market. In a virtual market, however, one must ask where the market actually exists. While the FTC has attempted to exert control over on-line transactions, a definitive ruling on the jurisdiction for international e-market places has not yet been made.

RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION TAGS

In November 2003, Wal-Mart gathered together its 120 top suppliers to announce it would require radio frequency identification tags (RFID) on shipping pallets and cases of merchandise. Wal-Mart set a deadline of January 2005 for its top 100 suppliers. The remaining suppliers will had until the start of 2006 to meet the requirement (Sliwa).

A basic RFID system has three components.

o Antenna

o Transceiver

o Transponder (tag)

The antenna activates the tag, reads, and writes data to it. When an RFID tag moves past a reader, its information is transmitted to a host computer for processing. Most common RFID systems are passive and contain their own power source, have a short transmitting range, operate at a low frequency, and have a low cost. While RFID has existed since the 1960's recent technological changes have reduced the cost and allowed the technology to be used in more applications.

A common everyday use of RFID is the automatic reading of prepaid passes on toll roads. The advantages of RFID are many fold. For example, RFID is extremely fast, non-contact, does not require line of site, and can operate in a variety of weather conditions. In the case mentioned above, the benefits of RFID will go to Wal-Mart, while the costs are the responsibility of the suppliers. Kara Romanov, an analyst with AMR Research, Inc., estimates the start-up costs for a supplier who ships 50 million containers per year will run between $13 million and $23 million. These costs include RFID tags and associated hardware and software (Sliwa).

SamSys Technologies of Richmond Hills, ON and ThingMagic, LLC of Cambridge, MA are two leaders in the application of RFID to supply-chain management. Sam-Sys is dedicated to an open system environment that will not limit RFID to a single protocol or range of frequencies. This philosophy is based on the premise of many vendors and readers that will work seamlessly together (SamSys).

ThingMagic was founded in 2000 by five MIT graduates. It has developed low cost RFID systems. Presently, ThingMagic is developing and marketing protocol agile RFID tag readers (ThingMagic). In addition to Wal-Mart, the Department of Defense (DOD) is a key player in RFID development and deployment. The Department of Defense has issued a new policy, which requires all suppliers embed passive RFID chips in each individual product if possible, or otherwise at the level of cases or pallets by January 2005. In February 2004, the DOD hosted a summit for its suppliers to discuss its RFID plans (Broersma). To quote Colin Cobain the Chief Technology Officer of Tesco Stores: "The question is not will RFID change the way you do business. The question is will you be ready" (ThingMagic).

SYNCHRONIZED PLANNING ACROSS THE SUPPLY-CHAIN

"Synchronized planning, in the form of collaborative forecasting and replenishment, coordinated production, inventory and capacity plans, information integration, and direct linkages of ERP systems, is one of the most exciting developments in supply chain management in many industries" (Synchronous). Synchronized Planning involves key steps (Lee).

o Information integration

o Planning synchronization

o Workflow coordination

o New business models

First, information integration requires information sharing and transparency. It is the sharing of information among the members of the supply chain. Information exchanged may include inventory levels, production schedules, and shipment schedules. The benefits include better job scheduling and a reduction of the bullwhip effect. "The effect indicates a lack of synchronization among supply chain members. Even a slight change in consumer sales ripples backward in the form of magnified oscillations upstream, resembling the result of a flick of a bullwhip handle" (Chase 335).

Planning synchronization defines what is to be done with the information that is shared. This can include collaborative planning and joint design. The benefits are lower cost and improved service.

If planning synchronization is the "what" is to be done with shared information, workflow coordination is the "how" it is done. Operations that can be coordinated include procurement, engineering and design changes, and production planning. Benefits include early time to market, improved service, and gains in efficiency. Synchronized planning can lead to new business models. Not only can these new business models redefine workflow, they can lead to changes in responsibility for different parts of the supply-chain. A redefined supply-chain can jointly create new products and lead to expansion into new markets (Lee).

Synchronized planning, however, cannot be accomplished without a tight linkage of all companies in the supply chain. Channels of communication must be well defined and the performance of each member in the chain must be monitored. The integrated supply-chain must hold members responsible for their part in the process. As product life cycles grow shorter and shorter, efficient synchronization of the supply-chain grows in importance. To ensure that the supply-chain is driven by consumer demand, and to decrease the bullwhip effect, synchronized planning is critical (Lee).

SUPPLIER PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

As the supply-chains of different organizations become tightly intertwined, it becomes necessary to measure the performance of each member of the chain. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before Congress in February 2001 that businesses were unable to anticipate the economic slowdown of the last recession, overbuilding inventories despite significant supply-chain automation (Fonstad). Even the use of the latest technology, therefore, may not guarantee that a supply-chain is operating efficiently.

One way to answer the question of how well a supply-chain is functioning is to develop supplier scorecards. There are five steps in developing an effective scorecard (Golovin).

o Agree on what is important and how to measure it

o Use web based incident reports to communicate problems as they occur

o Engage in continuous supplier management

o Measure to prevent rather than react

o Use web based software that all suppliers can utilize without making expensive investments in software and training

It is important that the buyer and seller agree at the outset on what is important and how it is measured. This is critical because once decided upon, the supplier will optimize its work to the designated criteria. If just in time delivery is a priority, the supplier may concentrate on this aspect of the order to the detriment of other factors. In addition, benchmarks to measure supplier performance must be realistic and attainable.

Actual performance should then be consistently tracked against these benchmarks. The manufacturer and supplier should work together to develop benchmarks that are consistent with industry performance and product specifications. The use of web based incident reports is important in keeping track of problems as they occur. Incident reports should not be used only to track problems, but should be used to resolve the problem in real time. It is also important to measure the time it takes the supplier to correct the problem.

Continuous supplier management, sometimes referred to as supplier engineering, has become more important as manufacturers outsource more of their operations. A 90-day review cycle can be ruinous when you are manufacturing an innovative product. "Innovative products typically have a life cycle of just a few months" (Chase 337). A 90-day review cycle may come close to exceeding the competitive advantage of an innovative product. Effective continuous supplier management must be geared to specific periods and tolerances. This is then tied to web based incident reports that enable alarms to ring when products, or delivery, are out of agreed upon tolerances.

An effective supplier scorecard should be set up to prevent problems as opposed to reacting to them. The sooner you know there is a problem the lower the cost of resolving it and the greater the chance of preventing it altogether. The best scorecard not only measures events after they have happened, they continually monitor performance in real time. The use of automation is key to making this happen. For example, a system that matches invoices with purchase orders will catch pricing errors before a check is cut and a manufacturer's money is out the door. Utilizing web-based software not only decreases the cost of a supplier integrating with a manufacturer, it speeds up the integration process. Web-based software also enables suppliers both small and large to participate in the supply-chain.

The other four points listed above all rely on the ability of a manufacturer and a supplier to participate in the planning, sourcing, quality control, and delivery of a product. The Internet enables all members of the supply-chain to collaborate and work together as a team. Finally, by making supplier performance web-based, suppliers are able to participate in their own performance improvement (Golovin).

CONCLUSION

Supply-chain management is an interesting and complex subject. It goes to the core of new business methods in the 21st century. The near universal availability of the Internet is the enabling technology for changes in how the supply-chain of an enterprise is managed. The Internet also allows organizations to adopt new business practices and enter new markets. By harnessing the power of the Internet, supply-chain management will continue to evolve beyond the changes being implemented today.

E-business has been the logical outgrowth of e-commerce. E-business adopts the power of the Internet to accelerate the growth of supply-chain integration. While E-business has had a tremendous impact on supply-chain management, it also can be adapted to both front end and back end business operations (Lee). Improved inventory control and increased profits are two of the benefits of improved supply-chain management. As noted in the introduction, Nike missed its 2001 earnings targets due in part to the failed implementation of a supply-chain automation project. It has also been estimated that more than $30 billion dollars in excess inventories can be eliminated through improved supply-chain management. These real savings can be brought straight to the bottom line.

Four new technologies and business practices that harness the power of the Internet are virtual market places, radio frequency identification tags, synchronized planning (RFID), and supplier performance management. Virtual markets enable buyers and sellers to come together 24/7 in effect creating a store that never closes. The additional advantages of virtual marketplaces are the elimination of an intermediary, access to product and vendor information, and a neutral market where all buyers and sellers are treated equally. Virtual markets give both buyers and sellers the opportunity to re-engineer their sales administration process.

As noted above, RFID has existed since the 1960's, however, improvements in technology and paring RFID with the Internet has expanded this tracking method beyond its limited past in manufacturing plants. The three components of an RFID system are an antenna, transceiver, and a transponder (tag).

Synchronized planning when applied across a supply chain consists of collaborative forecasting and replenishment, coordinated production, inventory and capacity planning, information integration, and direct linkage of ERP systems. The four key steps in synchronized planning are information integration, planning synchronization, workflow coordination, and the opportunity to develop new business models. Key to synchronized planning is using the Internet for information sharing. The benefits of synchronized planning include better job scheduling and reduction of the bullwhip affect. The bullwhip affect magnifies oscillations upstream in the supply-chain caused by a change in consumer sales. Synchronized planning also defines what is to be done with shared information and how it will be done. As product life cycles grow shorter, efficient synchronization of the supply-chain rewards firms who seize its potential.

Supplier scorecards are a method of evaluating members of the supply-chain in increasingly intertwined organizations. As Alan Greenspan pointed out in 2001, many firms were unable to anticipate the last recession and continued overbuilding inventory despite having invested heavily in supply-chain automation. This statement underscores the need develop the tools to monitor the performance of firms up and down the supply-chain. The five steps to develop an effective scorecard are agreeing on what is important and how it will be measured, the use of web-based incident reports, engagement in continuous supplier management, measuring to prevent problems, and the use of web-based software. In rolling out these tools, it is imperative that both the buyer and the seller first agree on what is important and how it will be measured. The other steps flow from the first.

The Internet has had an enormous impact on the personal and professional lives of businesspersons. On the business side, the Internet has brought new life to existing technologies and offered businesses the opportunity to engage in the world marketplace. The harnessing of the Internet by business has enabled greater cooperation and information exchange up and down the supply-chain. The Internet has enabled businesses to improve the supply-chain by the way they manage inventory, place orders, and communicate critical information with each other.

Works Cited

Broersma, Matthew. "Defense Department Drafts RFID Policy." CNET News. 24 Oct 2003. 5 Dec. 2003.

Chase, Richard B., Nicholas J. Aquilano, and F. Robert Jacobs. Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. 9th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2001.

Fonstad, Jennifer. "From the Ground Floor: How to Manage Inventory on Demand." Red Herring. 31 May 2001. 5 Dec 2003.

Golovin, Jonathan. "Five Keys to a Successful Supplier Scorecard." Vigilance, Inc. 5 Dec 2003.

Lee, Hau L., and Seungjin Whang. "E-Business and Supply Chain Integration." Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. Nov 2001. 22 Nov 2003.

McKnight, Lee W., Diana Anius, and Ozlem Uzuner. Virtual Markets in Wireless Grids: Peering Policy Obstacles. TPRC 30th Research Conference on Communication, Information, and Internet Policy., Oct 2002. Vienna, VA: Telecommunications Policy Research Conference.

"Mills Warm to Online." Steel Business Briefing. 1 Jul 03. 22 Nov 2003. SamSys. 4 Dec 2003.

Sliwa, Carol. "Wal-Mart Suppliers Shoulder Burden of Daunting RFID Effort." Computerworld. 10 Nov 2003: 1+. Steel24-7. 22 Nov 2003.

"Synchronous Planning Across the Supply Chain." Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. 27 Jan 1999. 22 Nov 2003.

ThingMagic. 4 Dec 2003.

Social Media Distribution Strategy

Patent - Machine Learning Advertising Marketing Strategy

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Challenges In Logistics And Supply Chain Management

In the last century, the world saw a massive revolution of innovation.

Beyond modern marvels such as digital advancements and the evolution of the smartphone, artificial intelligence is gradually changing society and how people navigate their lives. Machine learning is gradually being integrated into nearly every aspect of life.

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The Transformation of Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is essentially a points system used to determine where your prospects are in the buying journey. The idea is to look at customers uniquely for a better understanding of what they looking for, what you can provide them with - and if they're likely to make a purchase.

Manually scoring leads, with this helpful guide, can be an excellent introduction to the strategy of fully comprehending customers. Assigning this responsibility to your B2B marketing team brings consistency, reliability and focus to a personalization approach.

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This takes into account other technologies, such as CRM or marketing automation, and demographic information to predict whom sales and marketing should be nurturing closely. Still done semi-manually, this method uses the insight from traditional lead scoring and blends it with modern ways of working.

In terms of the future of B2B marketing, predictive lead scoring using predictive intelligence is yet one step further. This is even more accurate than basic lead scoring, because of its correlation between patterns discovered in both a company's first-party data and general third-party trends.

It has also become the standard for most companies, especially technology-based businesses. A 2014 study revealed 90% of users agree predictive lead scoring provides more value than traditional approaches. The comprehensive nature of looking at customers holistically and integrating that insight into how you communicate with them can fast track your marketing efforts.

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The Power of Personalized Content Targeting

Predictive intelligence, an important component of predictive analytics, is also critical in learning which pieces of content to target to which customers. After predictive lead scoring reveals where each customer is and might be headed in the buying journey, you can glean insights from predictive analytics for establishing the tone, material and style of content each prospect will respond to most fervently.

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Marketing professionals who work based on data, emotions and customer connections are the whole package in targeting content most effectively.

A.I. and the Future of B2B Marketing

Although artificial intelligence is not quite at the point of thinking, processing and completing tasks at the speed of a human brain, developments in the science of machine learning are getting closer to a complete takeover of this technology.

The existing uses of artificial intelligence within marketing is a good indication that the future of B2B marketing is bright - and that lead scoring and content targeting will be perfected as the technology matures.

With an already efficient system of analyzing data from thousands of sources to make sense of a single customer, predictive intelligence is making it possible for even small B2B companies to grow at rapid rates and expand their potential faster than traditional methods.

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