Web 2.0 Strategy for Traditional Organizations
Web 2.0 technology has created a new breed of online customer-one who is both a producer and a consumer of their own content and services. How does it impact an organization and its Marketing Strategy? McKinsey article titled “Managing beyond Web 2.0″* portrays a strategy called LEAD (listen, experiment, apply, develop) to create a road map that will help companies thrive in the online world’s environment of constant change.
Following is the summary of McKinsey’s LEAD strategy.
Listen: Organization need have a formal process to monitor and analyze what its customers are saying about it online and then use this information as an early-warning system. Companies should always assume that the digital environment will change rapidly and hence they must adapt accordingly. Rather than pushing messages at consumers, marketers should listen to them and think constantly about ways to engage with them actively.
Experiment: Next engage newly empowered customers by using the novel tools of Web 2.0 and beyond. Start small by creating a company profile on social-networking sites, such as Ning, or create a Facebook account, a daily blog and a tweet. While return-on-investment metrics for social media are still in the early stages, these experiments clearly pay off big time in greater customer awareness and brand engagement.
Apply: Take the experiments and apply them. Make it simple for consumers to link and tag content, and find ways to make site more relevant in social-networking searches. Measuring impact is paramount and therefore its important to use Web’s predictive tools and quantitative analysis to track the results of the experiments.
Develop: The Internet is a social medium and should therefore be a crucial part of any company’s marketing mix. But it is critical to develop integrated marketing programs that use the Web as more than just another advertising channel.
Most of the executives are intimidated by the evolving nature of the Web 2.0 and the implications it has on the marketing and branding strategy. They are inundated by ‘success stories’ by other companies including their competitors and they want to jump in with both their feet in implementing Web 2.0. But implementing without an overall strategy and a long term vision on how to create a community will lead to a ‘haphazard’ presence on the Internet leading to brand confusion. I think McKinsey has done an excellent job of simplifying the complexity of adapting Web 2.0 technology with their LEAD strategy. Coherent and cogent online presence is vital for extending the brand and targeting the coveted 18-34 year age group.
Who in the organization should lead these Web 2.0 projects? Should there be a central coordinated effort led by corporate executives or should it be dealt in a piecemeal by the marketing /sales department. I think it should be a coordinated effort by CIO and CMO jointly owning a long term Web 2.0 strategy. CIO should own the technical ‘scalable’ infrastructure and CMO can own the ‘experience’ aspect of Web 2.0 strategy. This joint effort also brings in the resources from the IT department in alignment with the corporate marketing efforts. Technically savvy resource within IT department can aid the marketing department with implementing cutting collaborative technology.
I think ‘D’ in LEAD is critical and if Web 2.0 is implemented done in the absence of a business strategy, it will be of little use in the long run.
* McKinsey Article Managing beyond Web 2.0