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NEW ORLEANS – Are you on board for a 21st century journey? That was the question posed by Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com in his opening address to financial institutions at TechMecca 2005. Jones, founder of one of the most successful Internet companies, offered his unique insights on the marketing techniques, branding approaches and technological advancements needed to meet the demands of the 21st century. The Internet is here to stay, Jones offered, to no one’s surprise. “We’ve had the boom, we’ve had the bust. Where are we headed now? Dotcoms failed because they didn’t create one-on-one relationships with customers that retailers have relied upon in the past. Yet, e-commerce continues to grow,” Jones said. “There’s no doubt, we are wired. Ninety-one percent of college students are online; 81% of college students have made online purchases. Fifty-three million Americans bank online. Information is everywhere, and the Internet offers us speed, simplicity and convenience.” To take advantage of the Internet and other 21st century technologies, businesses must become part of the evolving world. “Technique follows technology,” he said. “Think about business in a different way. Figure out how you can simplify lives. Solve a problem. Give people what they can’t get in the physical world.” As examples, Jones cited PayPal, a method of online payment that presents a new form of competition to financial institutions. Land’s End, a clothing retailer, now allows its patrons to order custom-fit jeans from its website, a practice that Jones said currently accounts for 40% of its sales. CareNow, an emergency health care clinic, allows people to make appointments online, so that they may stay at home until it is time to see a doctor, instead of sitting in a room full of sick people waiting their turn to be seen. Jones even showed a Swiss army knife in which the fork had been replaced by a USB drive. The Web is about direct marketing, Jones told his audience. “People like to shop online, so they know what they want before they go into the store. Researching products is the third most popular online activity. Become part of the process; create an annuity stream. Service is more important now than ever.” What’s in store for the immediate future? Falling telecom costs continue to change the world, Jones noted. “Borders Books has coupons on cell phones. Cokes and parking meter tolls are being charged to cell phones. In Korea, one can watch soap operas on cell phones while taking the subway to work.” “Fifty-five percent of Internet users currently have broadband (88% of Staples’ customers), and that trend will continue,” said Jones. “There will be more music and video file sharing, opportunity aggregation, national yard sales (E-bay), and more video ads. How about radar golf balls (with RFID sensors) that can always be found or GPS interactive ads that pop up in your car when you drive by a particular restaurant?” “The way to avoid being marginalized is to draw your own margins,” Jones concluded. Approximately 270 community bankers and 180 credit union professionals attended TechMecca. More than 100 technology vendors participated in the expo, representing a diverse range of products and services, from computer hardware and software to electronic payment systems to security and telecommunications services. [email protected]

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