READY – to know Web 2.0 – a new way of doing business? If not than you slumbered away an important new generation. Come on! Let’s start and pay attention…
With Web 2.0 a high productive and effective conversation has begun- a real business revolution in the computer industry. Customers are able to interact with each other all around the world. It seems to be a great advantage – but only if you know to use it for your own benefit.
Authors: Melanie Roeger, Tina Hoppe, Tjasa Pavli
This will be your last chance to win the race!
“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inviting new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter – and getting smarter fester than most companies. (Cluetrain Manifesto) ”
Network markets are getting smarter, faster and have no respect for companies unable to speak in human voice. It’s important to become aware with an idea of Web 2.0 and foresee how can it effect doing business. To compete in today’s Web 2.0 world executives, product strategists, entrepreneurs and leaders need to act now.
Web 2.0 has a strong on both markets (consumers) and organisations. It is important to notice changes in information style and respond to the new marketplace environment. Important message to managers could be: “Embrace the conversations enabled by electronic networks or become road kill!”
This is also the main idea of Cluetrain Manifesto theses. The Cluetrain Manifesto is an early precursor of the Web 2.0 philosophy, published on the web in 1999. It is a set of 95 theses about “new marketing”, or call to action. Some of them will be mentioned in the course of this article.
Web 2.0 is a business revolution in the computer industry. It shows new models of integration and collaboration. Those who act on the Web 2.0 opportunity gain an early-mover advantage in their markets.
The main characteristics of the Web 2.0 are: focus on users, simple user participation, openness and network effects. It is focused on content, which are contributed by users. It is a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. The trend began to live at the end of the 2005, when important companies like: Microsoft (Windows Live), Yahoo, Google or Amazon entered. Web 2.0 applications are built on free software, the Web becomes the platform, and even companies like Microsoft, that make their money from platforms outside of the Web understand this. This is also the reason why they are interested in acquisition of Yahoo.
The tools used in social software applications include communication tools and interactive tools like a phone, a net phone or a video chat. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with social sites like MySpace and Facebook, media sites like Flicker and You Tube, commercial sites like Amazon and Ebay. Many of these programs share characteristics like open API’s, service oriented (customizable), and the ability to upload (data, media).
The following figure shows an “O`Reilly Web 2.0 meme map” – associations about the sense ob Web 2.0:
Picture1: What is Web 2.0 ? (Oreilly)
Click to enlarge
“The community of discourse is the market” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 39)
Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. They can build on the interactive facilities of “Web 1.0” to provide “Network as platform” computing, allowing users to run software-applications entirely through a browser. Users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data
Web 2.0 will have significant business impact in the next half-decade and companies everywhere having to consider directly how it affects them and their business strategies. Now one billion people around the globe have access to the Internet, by the second quarter of 2006.
Reach the audience
“As markets, as workers, we wonder why you’re not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language.” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 67)
The Internet in the new generation is an inherent part in their daily life. In the last 3 years there was an amazing change of using the Internet as a media. A large segment of our new generation don’t come home from school or work and watch TV. No! They surf the Internet, meet their friends in StudiVz, SchülerVZ or Facebook and visit, Amazon etc. to go shopping.
A new study from Jupiter Research find out that Online users spend as much time surfing the web as they do watching TV. Also they spend far more time at it than they spend with other media like reading magazines, newspapers and listening to the radio, as you can see on the graph.
Graph 1: Hours spent with media per week (Jupiter Research)
As a result of these study it’s important for companies to conform oneself to these new media and make use of it. It’s a huge chance to implement new marketing activities and to improve customer relationship. Furthermore it’s a chance to increase innovative ability and for having a faster customization. But these prospects have to be used by choosing the channel of advertisement according to the target group, which the company wants to reach. Doing advertisement on YouTube, StudiVZ or Amazon means to speak the same language like the customers and to listen what are their individual convenience.
Steady for doing a new way of business?
Rising collective intelligence
“We’re also the workers who make your company go. We want to talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes written into a script.” (65)
One of the most important features of Web 2.0 is the rise of bloging. In 2005 conducted 70,000,000 web services transactions grows organically in response to user activity. Markets became powerful conversations. Through the Internet people share knowledge, information with blinding speeds.
The silent customers’ complaint
“You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel.” (73)
Do you observe the different blogs? No? Then you ignore the silent customers’ complaint. The new generation of customers create their own world. They have different blogs on the Internet. In this blogs they share their experience. Whether the experiences are good or not, true or untrue they tell it everyone and discuss their problems. The Web 2.0 knows no secrets. If a company ignore these blogs, they can’t react to the problems of the customers and can’t correct possible lies.In the past two years the visits to sites like Flickr, Wikipedia, Ebay or Amazon have increased 688 percent. These visitors are also the blog-users.
The fact is that this is an extremely growth, which should be attend by the CEO of the companies. When a company have the Internet as a distribution channel, it is their business to observe the blogs. For example: Every product, which is sold at Amazon, is valuated by the buyers. There a positive and negative feedbacks. And the Web 2.0 knows much more about a companies’ product than the company could ever know.
As it’s written in the cluetrain manifesto, the CEO, should get down off their camel, should enter the world of the customers and should not ignore them. Because this is the new way of dealing with complains.
Observe the market
“You’re too busy “doing business” to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we’ll came back later. Maybe.” (77)
As we mentioned in the last passage the blogs-market grows rapidly. Today there are more than 70,000,000 blogs worldwide; tomorrow there could be 10,000 more. To observe the blogs, the company has to create an own strategy for this complaints.
It’s a matter of common knowledge that it’s very important to listen to the problems of the customers and to solve it. Every complaint could be a new chance to satisfy the customers. It’s no problem, if a client isn’t satisfied with a product, but the companies will get a problem if they ignore the complaint and sell the clients down the river.
To prevent these circumstances, it’s the business of the company to listen to its customers. A lot of company has already a complaint department. In the future, this department will be more and more important. So the main strategy is to expand this department, due to the fact that the need to observe a large quantity of blogs.
“We’d like it if you got what’s going on here. That’d be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we’re holding our breath” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 87)
In the new time of communication it’s very important for the companies to react very quickly to a complaint of a customer.In the time of web 1.0, the buyers didn’t have such a big influence on the market, like in the new time of web 2.0.As you can see on the following graph, the web 1.0 is mostly a read web. There are only a few writers, but the most of the 45 million global users only read the contents of the approximately 250,000 sites. The new Web 2.0 has now more than 80,000,000 sites.
The 1 billion global users, aren’t only readers, they are writers, too.A good example is Wikipedia, the leader of educational reference Web sites. Everybody can read the articles and can add some new information. So the users have a collective intelligence. This fact, that everyone can read something on the Internet is important for the companies. Because the way of customers’ complaints has change due to the web 2.0 – the new model of integration and collaboration.
Picture 2: The difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
In the past, customers call the complaint department, so they company came to know the problem. After this call they have enough time to solve the problem without losing to many clients.First of all, most of the customers don’t complaint at the company, they write on blogs and different platforms. Today an unsatisfied customer has the opportunity to tell his problem the whole world in a few seconds.So the first problem is: To recognize the complaint of our silent customers as we already mentioned. Then the company has to react very fast because if they don’t react fast they will lose a lot of potential clients. It’s important not to ignore it and hurry up to satisfy the customers!Wasting loyalty
“Loyalty? What’s that?” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 31)
The global network gives costumers the possibility to change suppliers with only one mouse click. It doesn’t make an effort to get another interesting offer of another company. Because of this companies have to think about possibilities to tempt their customers all over again. The next paragraph will discuss some opportunities to increase the loyalty of the customers.
GO a new way of business!
“Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 19)
We already showed the importance of observing blogs and reacting to negative utterances of customers. A next important step is to keep pace with changing trends by constructing an own blog to communicate with their markets directly. Then the company has the chance to manipulate the market in their interest. Furthermore it’s a good way to take the control and to make covert advertising.
Construct own blogs
“By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 27)
By constructing own blogs it’s a good possibility for companies to expose themselves on the same level like their target groups and to reduce the distant between each other. So the company get the chance to talking directly to their costumers and find out what they want and what they don’t like. Safe the money for expensive opinion polls- just talk with each other.
Use also other communication tools, that can bring benefits in your business
“There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 53)
With using new communication tools and interactive tools (like Skype, MSN) you can also reach many benefits in your business by cut down on communications costs and ultimately achieve better, faster outcomes. Also with these tools it’s possible to work on visual materials, make decisions more quickly and in increase productivity with messaging feature, team group chats, video-and conference calls. Thereby you provide a much more interactive way of communicating, running a creative business and improving customer contact.
Continual further development
If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.” (Cluetrain Manifesto, Thesis 89)
Web 2.0 will not be the last point of the network evolution. These will further develop and it’s important for all the companies to keep pace with the development. This is the only chance for companies to stay alive and to win the run.It’s very important to give always the best and to show the customers that the company want to play with them.
The most important facts:
- Don’t ignore the new generation of Web 2.0!
- Become aware with an idea of Web 2.0 and foresee how can it effect your business!
- Observe blogs to be up to date what the market is talking about you!
- Create an own strategy for dealing with complaints!
- Pay attention: complaints can spread like wildfire – Increase responsiveness!
- Increase the loyalty of your costumers by speaking their language!
- Create your own blog to manipulate the market in your interest and to make covert advertising!
- Choose your channel of advertisement according to your target group and decide if it makes sense to change from television to the Internet to reach a considerable sum of people!
- Keep pace with the development! Don’t mark time!
- Use new communication and interactive tools which bring you many benefits!
More about the topic
Picture1: What is Web 2.0 ? http://www.oreilly.com
Graph 1: Hours spent with media per week (Jupiter Research)
Picture 2: The difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0