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Julian Gibbs

A recent survey of British business carried out by the Cranfield School of Management revealed that 64 per cent of companies are not yet using e-commerce even though their chief executives recognise that 40 per cent of revenues will be generated through e-com- merce within six years.

Many IFAs still believe the internet will not fundamentally alter the way their business works because little progress has been made in adopting new business models to reflect market trends. However, there have been many success stories, of which perhaps the Prudential&#39s online bank Egg is one of the best. A company quoted on the Nasdaq, Yellowbubble.com, offers ways of helping IFAs get more business, more cost-efficiently, from databases.

It is my belief that intermediaries, except those charging fees at the top end of the market, will only continue to survive and flourish if they can add some genuine value to business transacted, rather than add a little service at a high cost.

At the moment, advertising on the web can still be a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. You place an ad on a site and hope it is visited by people who like your product.

Yellowbubble now has a new application technology which cuts down the misses and maximises the hits. It is building a database of over one million people which will contain details of their likes, dislikes, ages and incomes, so it is much easier to target prospective customers. Permission-based direct email campaigns can be carried out much more cost-efficiently than direct mail and, if targeted properly, can produce a lot of business. This is a service well worth investigating.

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