Thursday, September 11, 2008

Burning questions

Following on from my last post, consider, also, that any given community’s needs and expectations are evolving: the Web 2.0 environment is constantly refreshing and reloading itself. What people Digg (figuratively or literally) one minute is buried the next. By the time we try to distill the elements that drove the Digging, ‘they’ (Web 2.0 citizens – or, umm…people by any other name) have moved on to something else.

But, in the midst of this exciting uncertainty – or perhaps because of it – there are some urgent Web 2.0 (let’s not even mention Web 3.0) questions burning ulcers into the guts of the marketing world. No one wants to be left behind or possibly worse, get it wrong.

How can the potential of this untamed, unbridled world nonpareil be harnessed?

You get that it’s not going away and that you need to be a part of it: how can, and should, your brand ride this digital/social media wave?

You get that it’s not about monologues anymore, but conversations: what’s the best way for your brand to start a conversation?

You know that if you don’t join the conversation, it’ll happen without you: web-whispers behind your back. But is blogging, vlogging, Twittering, Facebooking or MySpacing for your brand?

What to do?!


jyesmith said...

My opinion is this: if you're company can add value and meaning to your users through these powerful mediums -- then yes! But if not -- then maybe the brand/company should look at how they can start achieving this before jumping in.

Conversations are great -- and it's important for a brand or company to really understand that they need to be making these conversations better, or starting dialogue that is compelling. Listening is just as important here too.

Katie Harris said...

Hi Jye

You're absolutely right. It's goes well beyond the Web 2.0 space and technology to the very core of human interaction. In cyberspace or otherwise, it needs to be a 2 (or more) way channel.

MarketingMag said...

Agree with Jye on this one. It's not about the channel or the technology. It's entirely about the strategic goal of the business and the end user experience.

These two poles often sit a long way from each other, but the job of anyone trying to bring value to stakeholders (people who care) is to:

+ Listen - listen to what the needs and desires are of the people you care about.

+ Think - think about these need states and start to formulate ideas as to how you can meet these, partially or fully.

+ Ask - ask questions that are designed to draw out further insight from those people you care about.

+ Strategise - take the data generated from your listening, thinking and asking, and feed this into some good old fashioned strategic thinking. Might even start with brainstorming!

+ Generate ideas - these ideas should be aligned with your overall strategic goals, but should be tactical. This means they are waypoints, steps along the way to achieving the strategic goal that require careful execution and stewardship.

+ Execute ideas - bring together necessary resources (people, technology, capital) to execute your ideas.

+ Listen - listen to feedback on each of your waypoints (tactical executions). Feed this back into your strategic thinking, and determine whether the tactical aspects of your attempt ot meet the needs of the ones you care about need tweaking to achieve your overall strategic goal.

Note that conversation can be taking place at every one of these stages, but will probably form a larger part of some than others. As Jye mentioned, listening is also a key part of the process.

Ultimately, it's a relationship, and as such it needs ongoing TLC to flourish and grow.

Katie Harris said...


Yes. Definitely.

I love that you added the 'the people you care about' bit to your point on listening. Brands that care seem more likely to want to listen and in effect, are much more likely to respond thoughtfully, in a relevant way: a virtuous circle.

And not surprisingly (given that I'm a qualitative researcher), I also agree that we need to keep asking questions to get further insight and feedback all along the way. If you stop listening, you stop understanding/being relevant.

Finally, I absolutely agree that it’s not just about the technology and that it very much needs to be an ongoing dialogue:

P.S Hope the Kylie M bop cheered you up yesterday!
; )

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