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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19

Chapter 13:
CD Now Analysis

Some Background

The Internet offers some exciting opportunities to directly market to the consumer. One company attempting to take advantage of this method of selling is CD Now, a distributor of music CDs and videos. At the CD Now web site, you can listen to samples, peek at this week's charts, or of course, purchase one of CD Now's 165,000 CDs or 35,000 videos.

CD Now's founder, Jason Olim, articulates the CD Now business philosophy.

There are two tests which we apply to everything we do at CD Now. First, are we doing something that takes unique advantage of the power of the new technologies? And second, are we better served using these technologies than using the old methods. If the answer is 'Yes' to both questions, then it's something we want to do.
Jason's partner in CD Now is his twin brother Matt who works until 3 or 4 am every night developing and tweaking the programming code that keeps the dollars flowing in. The part of CD Now that meets the eye, the pages themselves, were developed with help from cross-discipline teams including designers, writers, artists, marketers and customer service specialists.

The brothers were featured in the June 1996, issue Inc. Magazine in which they guess-timated projected 1997 sales at $30,000,000! As of this writing, the site was receiving 400,000 shoppers per month. This looks like printing money, doesn't it? But clearly CD Now has put a lot of thought into the "information environment" and into adding value to the music shopping experience.

Your Assignment

  1. What kinds of risk might a consumer perceive as he or she contemplates purchasing from CD Now? How does CD Now work to mitigate against those risks and set the consumer's mind at rest?

  2. It is important for the marketers at CD Now to understand the ways in which consumers search for information in this product category. How do you decide what CDs to buy? What kinds of search behavior do you think consumers go through in this product category? How well is CD Now leveraging the searching capabilities of Networked computers to help generate sales? Can you think of any ways to improve it?

  3. Is this a good or poor product category for direct marketing on the Internet? Justify your answer.

  4. Direct marketing has been going on for some time. Catalogs have been in use for over a century, and direct mail and toll free phone numbers are well established if not quite so old. What features of the Internet make it unique or different from previous direct marketing channels? Discuss how these differences affect profitability.

  5. Music is one of the largest of the entertainment industries, and CD Now is now not alone. Some startup competitors include CD World, CD Universe, Emusic, Music Boulevard, and Two competitors who predate the Internet are Columbia House and BMG Music Service. On what basis would you propose that CD Now compete with these other firms? In other words, what might CD Now do to differentiate its service from these other companies? How well is it differentiating itself at this time?

Copyright 1998 by Digital Springs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.