Do Marketing Vendors Understand Web2.0?

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Looking around at the hundreds of vendors at the recent Technology for Marketing exhibition in London, I must say I was disappointed. All of them were offering basically the same old products but with added bells & whistles. And mostly not Web2.0 bells and whistles either. Not one of them seemed to have understood the implications of Web2.0 for business in general, or for marketing in particular. Even the Scandinavian company that majored on technology-enabled viral marketing (a shoe-in for Web2.0 thinking if ever there was one) clearly hadn’t done its social network analysis homework.

Although I didn’t get to see his keynote, the comments of one of the Advertising Industry speakers highlights the problem of Web1.0 practitioners not understanding Web2.0. The Advertising Man reportedly said, “Part of it (Web 2.0) is about the digitalisation of social networks and with this the creation of the new places and spaces we communicate through”. This is a Web1.0 practitioner talking. He is in effect saying, show me the target audiences on Web2.0 websites like MySpace, so that I can market my products directly at them. In this view, Web2.0 is nothing more than a new channel to market.

In contrast, the Web2.0 thinker would say, show me where potential customers congregate so that I can start a dialogue with a select number of them. Through the dialogue I can learn about them, what needs they have, how I can best meet them and which potential customers are likely to become ambassadors for my products. These are the ones I will try to go to market with.

Bringing customers into the company in this way enables customer-driven innovation, customer-generated media, social-network mediated sales and customer self-service to name just a few. The list of companies doing this already include, Toyota, GM, Fiat, P&G, EliLilly, 3M, Adidas, Danone, Lego, etc, etc, etc.

These are clearly still early days for Web2.0. But we must do better if it isn’t going to fall into over-hyped disrepute or become just another cheesy marketing play by Web1.0 thinkers.

What do you think?

Add a comment to the blog and lets get CRMGuru2.0 buzzing.

Graham Hill

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