Next Things First

Web 2.0 Basics for Marketers, Part 2 (From Tobin Arthur) by charlottegee
December 19, 2008, 12:47 pm
Filed under: marketing, web 2.0 | Tags: ,

Yesterday I talked about why people are using Web 2.0 tools more and more. Once marketing teams within companies come to grips with the fact that Web 2.0 is part of a larger societal shift rather than a fad, the justification for embracing Web 2.0 as central to marketing efforts is easy. However, just as the Internet has affected societal shifts, marketing departments have a shift to undergo of their own.

Companies with old secure brands tend to want to control everything said about their product, etc. HP was one of the first Fortune 100 companies to embrace the fact that if people are going to talk badly about you, it’s better for you to be engaged in that discussion and not hiding from the fact that they exist. So, they opened internal corporate blogs to the public and let their employees dialog. Open discussion may bring out blemishes … but any company that thinks that avoiding Web 2.0 technologies allows them to maintain “control of their brand” is fooling themselves. Customers will talk whether we embrace it or not, so better to join the conversation and embrace the feedback – the good and the bad.

With more and more of people’s time being spent online, and especially on social networks, companies have to be engaged or they risk corporate death. The shift in people’s time spent online versus newspaper, television or radio is significant. Smart companies are responding accordingly.

Once a marketing team decides to get serious about Web 2.0 initiatives, someone needs to lead the effort. If the person leading the effort is older than 35 years of age … find someone else to do it. The best Web 2.0 models deployed to date have been targeted to younger audiences, so a younger person will have more context for how to introduce the value of Web 2.0.

The fact of the matter is that consumers are talking about your products or services. Companies that decide to engage in the conversation are setting themselves up for success while those that stick to the comfort zone of their old-school marketing programs and ignore the conversation are losing ground without any say in the matter.

web-marketing-bSubmitted by Tobin Arthur
CEO of iMedExchange


Web 2.0 Basics for Marketers, Part 1 (From Tobin Arthur) by charlottegee
December 17, 2008, 9:17 am
Filed under: marketing, web 2.0 | Tags: ,

web-marketing1In the 12/15/08 edition of the Wall Street Journal, there is a solid overview of The Secrets of Marketing In a Web 2.0 World. There has been a lot of chatter recently about the fact that many Web 2.0 companies, including leaders like Facebook and MySpace, are struggling to find their economic bearing. Part of the problem stems from the fact that marketers look at Web 2.0 as another gadget to “game” the end user. This misses the point, and will continue to result in missed opportunities.

To understand the economic power of Web 2.0, one must understand why people embrace Web 2.0 tools in the first place:

  1. The primary benefit of Web 2.0 is that it creates a platform for more seamless communication or exchange of information. Professionals (at least most of them) house lots of latent “tribal knowledge” that can be of great benefit to colleagues. Web 2.0 technology can free that knowledge to the advantage of the community members.
  2. In addition, with people as busy as they are these days, it’s difficult to nurture relationships. Social networks allow people to stay connected, even if it just means an occasional note or knowing what someone is up to at any given time. When you are able to connect in person, you have deeper context for the gap since you last met.

Understanding the drivers to Web 2.0 adoption is critical if marketers are going to figure out if and how to engage in these communities. Marketing needs to be a part of the conversation that happens naturally within Web 2.0. If marketing feels like it’s “selling” or gaming the users, they will reject it and no one benefits.

At iMedExchange, we always work with the understanding that our members – our physicians – are first. If what we do is in their best interest, they’ll be more productive users and offer us their trust. And the sponsors and advertising we bring in, with the advisement of our physician advisors, can enhance their overall experience. When a Web 2.0 company’s business model is not in line with the members’ best interest, they’re set up for an inevitable, fundamental struggle to maintain happy members.

Tomorrow I will post a follow-on entry with additional thoughts for marketing on the web …

Submitted by Tobin Arthur
CEO of iMedExchange