What web 2.0 means for marketers

Web 2.0 is the internet coming into its own. It is most easily understood by looking at the contrast to Web 1.0. To do that, consider the ...

6 May 2008 2494 Views



Web 2.0 is the internet coming into its own. It is most easily understood by looking at the contrast to Web 1.0. To do that, consider the first car ever created. It looked very much like a horse carriage. That’s because the only frame of reference for the people who designed the first car were horse carriages. Same for the internet. Web 1.0 was designed to look and feel like its predecessor – newspapers, books, and magazines. Like them, Web 1.0 was built on the premise of one-way, non-collaborative communication because that was the only frame of reference available to web publishers, developers and users at the time.

Racerxdesignkc427concept02In recent years people have begun to realize that the internet is very different from previous mass-media channels. It allows instant, global, two-way communication and collaboration. It can cater to the Long Tail and draw on The Wisdom of Crowds. It allows anyone to circumvent conventional media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, book publishers, etc..) and speak to the world.

I don’t think most marketers have fully grasped the significance of this aspect. Media cost has been such a huge barrier of entry for many small to mid-sized companies that those restrictions are part of their thinking. Today, that whole landscape has changed. The wall between brand and consumer imposed by traditional media is coming down. Access to the masses is opening to anyone — albeit with new rules of engagement. But many marketers seem caught like a deer in the headlights of oncoming traffic.

This hit home today when I was speaking to a client about leveraging social media to develop their brand. They told me that wasn’t necessary because they have a great deal on their media (mostly print advertising). It reminded me of when I was trying to convince my mother to try Skype. She said it wasn’t necessary because she had a really good phone plan with AT&T. The notion that she could call me in Sweden for free was beyond her thinking.

For true market-focused companies this is all ancient history. Brands like Nike and Pepsi wasted no time in leveraging the new possibilities of Web 2.0. But the rank and file marketers are lagging behind. I think a softening economy will provide the impetus required for many CEOs and marketing managers to start taking Web 2.0 seriously. I look forward to seeing a lot of these second and third tier marketers begin to engage Web 2.0 strategies over the next 12 months.

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Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.