WSJ: Respond strategically to Web 2.0 or be left behind

If you haven’t already, read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about: The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World.

It’s short, well-written, and says again what we need to keep hearing about how companies need respond strategically to Web 2.0. It’s not just implementing promotional marketing programs there as if it were a new media channel to add to the mix.

Remember how companies were left behind in the nineties. It wasn’t because they didn’t develop a web site or an email list quickly enough, it was because they didn’t have a good response to the changing environment and competition. They needed to add offerings and/or change positioning to carve out a new niche in the new world. Mobile and social media are causing even bigger shifts.

Consumers are flocking to blogs, social-networking sites and virtual worlds. And they are leaving a lot of marketers behind.

  • A New Approach: Marketing these days is more about building a two-way relationship with consumers. Web 2.0 tools are a powerful way to do that.
  • The Pioneers: A growing number of companies are learning how to collaborate with consumers online on product development, service enhancement and promotion.
  • The Lessons: From these early efforts, a set of marketing principles have emerged. Among them: get consumers involved in all aspects of marketing, listen to and join the online conversation about your products outside your site, and give the consumers you work with plenty of leeway to express their opinions.

Economic downturn signals start of Web 3.0

Web 2.0 was less about specific technologies or cultural shifts empowering users of the interwebs than it was simply the reaction to the bursting of the dot-com economic bubble.

The current economic crisis will be marked as the start of a new cycle in Internet innovation that might be named Web 3.0.

When dot-coms first shuttered their doors and VC cash dried up, web startups were forced to work differently.

The only people left to start new companies were once again those who were most skilled and passionate about their craft. They had few resources. Development had to be focused on simple functionality. Marketing had to be by word of mouth.

After the excesses of dot-com advertising, it’s little wonder that the most successful startups of this renaissance often focused that simple functionality itself to spread something. The function is the marketing, enabling web-amplified amplified word of mouth. The result is a more human Internet.

In a sense, it’s silly to call that Web 2.0, since the original vision of the web and how we would use it was always centered on individual contributions more than on publishing empires and corporate advertising. The ebb and flow between these “opposing” forces is cyclical, though some folks “get it” regardless (and manage to market large companies on the Internet in a more human way).

Anyway, it’s happening again. The result will be another renaissance of creativity, advancement and prosperity. Whatever the label. Rejoice.

(Thanks to @laughingsquid for the cocktails and @eran for the conversation last night which inspired this post.)