Sometimes a simple illustration can trigger a lot of thought. When I first saw the illustration below I was immediately struck although not really sure why.
In the weeks after that first impression I actually found myself using this illustration to explain complex topics and therewith simplify discussions I had with several people.
First of all, I think this illustration does a great job of showing the evolution that the Web has gone through. In the first phase of the web all activities are centered around broadcasting information. Companies and people create websites and use them to broadcast their messages into the world. This is the era of the webmaster, and site navigation based on the organizational structure. Then came the transactional web. Editorial & marketing teams took over, the navigational structure was mostly based on the products and services an organization offered, and the main objective was moving actual business online. We are currently in the personal phase of the web, which is characterized by three key elements:Relevant (e.g. personalized messages and offerings), Interactive (e.g. the read-write web, User generated content) and Social (e.g. online networks, references and reviews).
Now, the red line in the illustration marks an important crossover (note that I’ve added the red line and the Science and Arts labels myself). On the left side of the red line are the phases we have already mastered. It has resulted in new job titles, services and organizations that focus on things like Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, Pay per Click Management et cetera. As we have mastered these phases we have created the science required for these phases and we know what to do (or who to hire) to do them right.
However, on the right side of the red line we are still discovering and learning. Success here is not based on science, it still is an Art:organizations follow their gut and try to innovate. Ok, I understand this is not 100% true. There are first examples of methodologies that will lay the groundworks for future science, but, even Analysts are confirming that the miss rate for this phase is still very high.
Valérie Léonard made a righteous statement in her last post: ORM goes beyond SEM. It certainly does, and for me this illustration also shows that. SEM is on the left side of the red line, ORM is on the right. Over time we will create new sciences for this new phase that the web is entering. For now: get yourself a good artist!
October 7, 2008 No Comments
I had an interesting (offline) discussion with regards to my previous post. The key feedback I got was that ORM focuses on the negative side of the online conversation, it is still triggered from organizations trying to stay in control of their brand. Fact is that the real value in the online conversation is only tapped if organizations focus on the opportunity. In simple words: if your brand/product is being talked about, learn from it, understand the opinion/perception and leverage it!
I partly agreed with this feedback, although the real life cases I have seen sofar quickly learned a key lesson: you can only tap the value of the groundswell if you forget about control. Your Customers are in control, and they are waiting for you to listen and react.
September 21, 2008 No Comments
Why bother with brand monitoring or ORM?
The online conversation in forums, communities and other typical Web 2.0 applications is growing. This implies that the number of times your organization is being talked about is also growing. If you don’t know what’s being said, then the only thing you can do is hope that it is positive. But, if you decide to listen to (and even engage in) the online conversation than this offers a great opportunity to react and respond (e.g. crisis management), and even greater (but more difficult) opportunities to leverage the online feedback to pro-actively drive your offerings and propositions.
The current tools
Online Reputation Management, Buzz tracking, Brand Monitoring: an entire new area and related categories is being created. Most tools in these categories are solely focused on supporting organizations in tapping the online conversation. Obviously, it will require a lot more than just listening to actually do online reputation management, but listening makes a good start.
In my opinion the current wave of offerings can largely be divided in three categories: Services, Tool & product vendors and Traditional Players.
Services – These are the agencies that will do everything for you. They might use their own tooling in order to provide a competitive offering, but they do not have a separate product offering. Examples of companies in this category are: MotiveQuest and Umbria.
Tool & Product Vendors – This category consists mostly of startups in a wide range from very small vendors to mature products that challenge the Traditional Players. It is already getting quite complex to compare the different products, which leads to what reminds me of beauty contest like comparisons of what the different products can do. Examples of companies in this category are: Biz360 and Radian6.
Traditional Players – the most appealing example in this category is probably Nielsen, which has a separate division Buzzmetrics. It is obvious that Nielsen has years of experience in the field of marketing information. This is being downplayed by their competition that claims that new rules apply and that the traditional Nielsen organization is not ‘up to par’ for this new Web 2.0 world.
I’ll be back
I will take the above division in three categories and digg deeper, preferably I would like to create an overview that can be used as a guide to pick the right product/tool for the right objective. Any pointers towards good reference material, or any good additional information is more than welcome!
September 14, 2008 No Comments