Buzz Friday (week of May 11)
Web2.0 for marketers: This isn't your grandfather's business model

Web2.0 for marketers: History and what Web2.0 is NOT

two_birthday.jpgUnless you've been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years you have doubtlessly heard the term Web2.0. You've probably heard the term mis-used as much as you've heard it put to the right use. So, what does it really mean?

Let's start with a quick history. The term itself was coined in 2004 by Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Publishing. You know those books in the technology section with the animals on them, that is Tim's business. The term was created to show an improvement and shift in the way that systems and people interact.

O'Reilly was trying to show that websites were strategically moving away from being brochureware. Away from the "me-too" generation of early websites. You probably went through this yourself or as a company. One day early in your online marketing foray, you looked at a competitor site and said "Hey, they have a contact form and they let people request product literature...we need that too." You then probably called your web design company and asked for a contact form and a literature request form. Then you waited for the next competitor to innovate. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, don't get me wrong. It was the way the internet iterated and grew.

The rest of this week's feature will focus on what Web2.0 is.

  • Tuesday: This isn't your grandfather's business model. If the model isn't broken, break it.
  • Wednesday: Who let the tech out? How Web2.0 has democratized technology.
  • Thursday: It's the community stupid (whether you like it or not)
  • Friday: What this means for you and your clients.

Before we go into what Web2.0 is, let's take a look at what it is not. I think this is the most enlightening way to frame what we're going to talk about this week. Some of what I am about to say will fly in the face of what you have been led to believe.

    calendar_small.jpg1. There is no line in the sand. Yes, Tim O'Reilly coined the term in 2004, but there is no magic date where websites left 1.0 and became 2.0. Pieces of what we will talk about have been around since the beginning of the Internet. Message boards, commenting, tagging have all been around since the start, they're just being repackaged to add more value.

    2. There is no Web2.0 hardware or upgrade kit. There is no special server that you can buy nor is there upgrade software to go from 1.0 to 2.0. As you'll see, Web2.0 transcends technology and is really about people. People connecting, talking and sharing experiences.

    pull_small.jpg 3. Push marketing is dying. The traditional marketing model, which most traditional advertising uses, is to push your message out to the user. This is done in 15's and 30's, outdoor ads, early websites and print ads. All customers were grouped into one basket, given one message and asked for one response. Web2.0 lets you customize your message to each individual user and ask each of them for the response that adds the most value. Web2.0 lets your customers pull you into their lives and Web2.0 enables that.

    4. There is a stereotypical look, but don't be deceived. I am sure you've seen "the look". It's shiny, reflective, plastic and chrome. It's so stereotyped that there is even a Web2.0 logo generator. In case you don't know what I mean...

    (reflect)This is the lookBETA.png

Going into tomorrow, here are some points to get you thinking about what Web2.0 is.

  • Old business models are dying. More value can be delivered by using the Web.
  • Providing more value to the user will lead to more revenue for you.
  • The collective thinking of the community is more important than the individual.
  • Measurement and ROI is harder to calculate, but it's not impossible. Rethinking metrics is crucial.
  • Web2.0 is personal. It's personal for your customers and contacts. The more personal you make it the more successful you'll be.
  • Social networking is one small part of the equation. Creating a MySpace profile is the gimmicky way out (unless your customers are there).
  • Innovate, innovate, innovate. It's the name of the game. Be curious and think differently

Until then, be thinking about what this means to you. Questions anybody? Anything else that you think I missed that falls into the "what web2.0 is not" category? Let me know in the comments.

Related Post: I gave a presentation to the Ad Club in Canton, OH a while back on Web2.0/user generated content for advertising folks. Click here to view that post.

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