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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Web 2.0 Marketing Strategy

August 1st, 2008

In a previous post post, I presented a definition of Web 2.0 as the widespread acceptance and use of technology that allows continually changing or active communication. The main points of the post were:

  • The most important aspect of Web 2.0 is not the technology itself, but rather the new culture of free and open communication that comes about because of technology.
  • The old era of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) that was supported through biased and untrustworthy advertising is past.
  • Web 2.0 technology has birthed a new era of caveat venditor (let the seller beware) since consumers are now able to communicate freely amongst themselves and provide unbiased feedback on sellers’ claims. Amazon.com is a prime example.

How can Web 2.0 help your business?

From a marketing perspective, the questions are simple:

  1. How can Web 2.0 help us reach more prospects,
  2. deliver a more effective message and
  3. decrease our message cost?

Is your business Web 2.0 compatible?

Again, the most vital element to success is not the technology itself, but rather the real value your business presently offers consumers. For those businesses who meet this criteria, Web 2.0 technology is tailor made to effectively assist in achieving the marketing goals mentioned above.

Bear with me as I give yet another Web 2.0 analogy. If I buy this 2006 ADR3 race car for $85k, its got the technological capability to win races. However, just because I buy the car does not make me competitive with professional drivers. Assuming I could con my way into entering a professional race, it would soon become apparent, when I crashed and burned on the first corner, that I was an amateur. The technology would do me little good if I did not posses the real ability to utilize its potential.

Likewise, the benefit that Web 2.0 technology can bring is directly proportional to some more fundamental aspects of your business, such as:

  • Do your current customers (not you, your employees, or executives) consider the products you offer to be truly unique and superior solutions?
  • Do you receive a significant portion of new business through referrals?
  • Is it easy for your prospects to understand your unique value proposition?
  • Is the leader of your business dedicated to establishing a front facing culture of transparency, honesty and direct communication with customers?
  • Do your employees understand and embrace this vision?

This by no means is a comprehensive list, but hopefully you get the idea. The more “yes” answers you can give to these types of questions the more potential your business has for excelling by implementing Web 2.0 technology and tactics.

For a more detailed look at how Web 2.0 technology can help you achieve your marketing goals you may want to check out our “Helping you achieve your goals” page.

Serve Your Customer

October 7th, 2007

I recently read a good piece on CNN that demonstrated how a few select entrepreneurial companies understand their customer is the lifeblood of their organization. This subject is important to me as I witness more often than not companies not taking customer orientation seriously. From one particular semiconductor company here in Boise, I hear it stated quite often that its goals are “market orientated,” yet the strategic goals and the advertising campaigns are constantly focused on its products and production procedures. Listen up, it’s not about what you do, who you are, or what you sell, but rather about who you sell to and what they need. Successful companies know how to empathize with the market by understanding the wants and needs of existing and potential customers.

Furthermore, employees are typically patronized by their top management on how they are the engine that makes the company go, but in reality, no company exists without customers and organizations should be structured and focused on addressing that principal. Yeah, happy and excited employees make for a better productivity; but I’ve worked for several companies that lose money and customers and the end result is always the same: low moral despite catchy internal motivational slogans or non-customer related group incentive programs. Getting straight to the point, quit wasting time on slogans and pep talks and goals that have nothing to do with serving the customer.

To conclude my mantra, organizations exist for one purpose and one purpose only … and it’s not in business to build widgets, to be innovators, to motivate employees, or to attain the most marketshare … but to serve those customers who keep your company afloat.

Why should I buy your product?

July 28th, 2007

This is a real email I just sent to a company today. It struck me, that the challenges I faced as a prospective customer with them are typical shortfalls that companies of all sizes make in their messaging. Read through this letter to see if yours shoes start pinching. Company names and identifying terms have been changed to protect the innocent (me).

Hi,

My company has been using <a competitor’s software> but are in the process of exploring other alternatives. <Your company> was recommended to me…I’ve been poking around your site and forum for the last half hour but I’m having a hard time finding specific info on what makes <your company> different and better than <your specific competitors>. So far I’ve seen a lot of great features, but everything sounds pretty much the same as the aforementioned competitors.

I’m not suggesting that <your company> is the same, based on the referral I’m optimistic that you are better. I just asking if you can articulate to me the reasons why? Can you have one of your sales people contact me with this info?

I strongly suggest too, for your own marketing benefit, that you make a clear statement on your frontage answering the question “What features-benefits make <your company> totally unique and the best choice.”

You do have a generic value proposition stated that states: “We offer more flexibility, security, help, value, choices, stability, features and support. Get more with <our company>”….and that you’re technical
jargon> with more features than any other application in it’s [sic] class” This entire statement could be easily used by any of your competitors on their website…it would do you great benefit to call out the specific features and their benefits that are unique only to <your company>.

One last suggestion…your site is very feature heavy, I suggest you associate a clear benefit statement with each technical feature you list. The prominent feature button on your front page leads to your features page which lists a lot of technical features including multiple references to your “Hybrid X Core”.

Frankly, none of this means anything to me.

I am technically savvy on this topic so I understand much of what your saying but it really doesn’t mean much to me in terms of why I should go with <your company> … I covet finding out what the unique benefit that such features as the “Hybrid X Core” bring to me.

Please know, I am a legitimate prospect and all the above is intended as constructive advice. I suspect that I am a typical prospect for your product and I’m certain you could improve your sales conversion rate with more specific “why” info prominently displayed.

I’m looking forward to hearing from your sales dept.

Media Advertising is Struggling. What’s the Fix? Please Chime In!

July 22nd, 2007

As market-savvy corporations continue to adapt their marketing strategies to address consumer tendencies, traditional advertising outlets are feeling the crunch. Why? The answer is two fold: 1) today’s consumers are more likely than ever to base their purchasing decisions on peer reference rather than advertising and 2) access to alternative media via the internet has reduced the influence and control long held by newspapers, television networks, and radio stations. Hence, the appeal traditional media outlets once held has been mitigated and the writing is on the wall for change in their advertising sales departments.

So, thinking about the future from a media outlet, what is the answer? With so many options available via the Internet, which provide current and plausibly accurate information, I’m not sure that a paid subscription is the way to go. I know that I would never pay for a subscription to a newspaper site as I can access the same information on Google News for free. And with the advertising model, think back to how many banner ads you’ve clicked on … and on top of that, how many banner ads have actually led you to a purchase. I know for most folks, that number is minuscule if it exists at all.

To conclude, I’m hoping to solicit some honest and candid discussion on this topic. I’ve read several blogs and articles on this topic, and I have yet to find an adequate answer for the dilemma facing the major media outlets. Is their future dim? Or is there a solution that will drive the financial solvency of television and radio broadcasters and hard copy newspapers. As I have a genuine interest in this topic, please let me know your thoughts … especially if you work in the mass-media industry.

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