Two ways to find product information on the web

Ninety-five percent of U.S. manufacturers believe the Internet is here to stay, according to the latest "Survey of American Manufacturers," by the accounting firm of Grant Thornton (Chicago, Ill.). Websites for mid-sized manufacturers have increased dramatically, and more companies are expected to have their own website up and running sometime in 1998 (see table).

05/01/1998


Ninety-five percent of U.S. manufacturers believe the Internet is here to stay, according to the latest "Survey of American Manufacturers," by the accounting firm of Grant Thornton (Chicago, Ill.). Websites for mid-sized manufacturers have increased dramatically, and more companies are expected to have their own website up and running sometime in 1998 (see table). Owing to the popularity of the web, Control Engineering ( CE ) is using it as an alternative to obtain new product information. The free information card and 800 number aren't the only ways to get more information about products found in CE anymore. There are two additional ways to do so on the World Wide Web.

Any product with a number

The Control Engineering Online information page ( www.controleng.com/info ) is the way to go when looking for products. For requesting product information, the reader service page has two gray buttons labeled "search advertised products," which includes all products with free information numbers. The first contains products found in Control Engineering 's North American, Product & Literature Showcase, and Process Instrumentation Digest editions. The second button is for Control Engineering International . Just point and click on the appropriate button to continue the process.

The next page has fields for specifying your product search. The first field on the page, labeled "Issues," is for selecting the issue where the product can be found. The default selection is "Last 3 issues." Other options include specific issues, including the current issue, or all issues from the last 12 months. The second field, labeled "Optional Keyword Search," is for entering specific criteria, such as a free information number from an issue, or a company name.

Once the criteria are specified, point and click on the gray "List" button to continue. The next page that comes up has a table of information that meets the specified criteria. This table will have fields for the company name, a product description, the issue the product is from, and the page number and free information number from that issue. Some company names in the table may appear in blue text, linking directly to their web sites.

To request more information about the item on a particular line in a table, point and click on the "Select" field. Depending on how many items meet the specified criteria, gray buttons appear at the bottom of the page to continue browsing. Options include viewing the next 20, 40, or 80 results. Once all selections are made, point and click on the "Submit" button at any point to submit the request.

The next page that comes up has fields for entering an e-mail address, name, and phone number. This information is used to search Control Engineering 's circulation database for an address. If no record is found matching the entered information, another page appears, requesting a mailing address. Once all the necessary information is entered and submitted, the request will be processed and the selected companies notified to send more information about their products.

Instant information

The second way to get more information about advertised products is Instant Fulfillment. With Instant Fulfillment, advertisers in CE provide web addresses (URLs) in their ads for readers to access online versions of company product brochures. Readers can browse through product information, and also access a company's e-mail, web site, or directory listing on the Manufacturing Marketplace web site. So instead of waiting weeks for product information to come by mail, readers get more information "instantly." Instant Fulfillment URLs are listed in the ad index in the back of every issue of Control Engineering as well.


Author Information

Matthew Bellm mbellm@cahners.com


Importance of the Internet

Manufacturers say…

95% the Internet is here to stay;

65% websites are important in advertising or marketing campaigns;

62% websites are critical in defining leadership;

50% the web is strictly for marketing;

31% the web is an integral part of management information systems; and

30% websites are necessary in remaining competitive.

Source: Grant Thornton LLP. Complete results can be found on the web at



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