U.K. Government Hires JWT to Study Internet Businesses

[London, ENGLAND] The Department of Trade and Industry has
appointed J. Walter Thompson’s new economy brand consultancy,
[email protected], to profile Internet businesses in the U.K.

The move is the first stage in the Government’s three-part
Internet Mentoring Initiative, a US $7.8 million spend which
it hopes will result in the capability to give advice to
Internet-based businesses.

The study will be the first of its kind in the U.K.,
where the DTI holds extensive data on traditional industries
but relatively little related to the new economy. Armed with
the findings, the DTI expects to be better equipped to advise
Internet companies on issues such as “best practice and routes
to success.”

In such a fast-moving industry, however, there is always a
danger is that conditions will shift radically just as
researchers are reaching their conclusions. If they are
still in business in 2001, many Internet companies may
have learned more about their respective markets in recent
years than the Government can discover in a few weeks.

The DTI says its chief aim is to identify the critical success
and failure factors that are responsible for shaping the
Internet industry today. It also plans to research size,
nature, growth patterns and segmentation — all with the
objective of helping Internet businesses survive difficult
market conditions.

As to what constitutes “an Internet business,” the DTI
defines it as one that uses the Internet as its main
route to market for at least 50 percent of its business.
Allcomers are included, not only pureplay dotcoms, but
offline businesses that are switching to online trading,
and Internet start-ups — whether or not they are already
trading.

Patricia Hewitt MP, Minister for Small Business and e-Commerce,
explained that it is difficult for Internet companies to
thrive in the knowledge economy if they lack the right
market information.

“The Internet Mentoring Initiative gives us the opportunity
to create an environment which embraces and nurtures Internet
entrepreneurs in this fast-evolving sector,” said Hewitt.

[email protected] will lead the project, but is being helped by
two other companies. HPI Research will conduct original
research and Clever Media will provide technical support
to distribute the findings via the Internet.

Among [email protected]’s other clients are NTL, Telegraph.co.uk,
Shell, Post Office Counters, KeepUpdated, Kraft, Deloitte
and Touche, Kellogg, Sun Microsystems.

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