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Me, too!

I’ve just met with yet another prospect who said to me, “We need to make our website more Web 2.0. We want a wiki, RSS feeds, podcasts, and a blog.” And while I’m always happy to get new business, when I asked the client about his company’s strategy behind developing these tactics, his answer was, “Our competition has them, so we need to have them as well.”

In other words, “Me, too!”

In fact, a recent scan of our inquiries box shows a decided uptick in the amount of requests we’re getting for “Web 2.0” work. Call it keeping up with the Joneses or call it competitive advantage—from my perspective, “Me, too” is driven by fear. Fear that Web 2.0 will provide business rivals with a magic formula that will grant them a permanent advantage.

And so, we have a bit of a conundrum: Everyone wants Web 2.0 tactics, but few are willing to put the time and effort into creating a strategy and roadmap for how to successfully deploy them. I think this lack of strategy stems, in part, from the immaturity of the Internet as a marketing medium. People are still unsure about how to best leverage the Internet, so when a hot new technology or technique surfaces, we grasp it without determining its real value.

Recently, I was talking about this with a friend of mine who runs the Midwest office of a national PR firm. She related a story that typifies the challenge of Web 2.0: Her team put together a Web promotion, which included a blog, for a well-known household brand. After just one week, the blog got a tremendous response—the traffic numbers tripled the agency’s projections and the team came running into my friend’s office, crowing about their success.

Which quickly diminished under my friend’s questions: What data did the team have about these visitors—age, income, geographic location? How many of the visitors had actually bought the product? Her lesson to the team: Response does not equal success.

The larger lesson for all of us is that “Me, too!” isn’t always the answer. Don’t just jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon—use Web 2.0 technologies and tools just as you would use any others: as your goals, audience, and strategy dictate. ―Chris Zender, VP, creative services

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May 3, 2007 - Posted by | Chris Zender, Content Strategy, Metrics/Web Analytics, Web Content

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