How the web has changed the rules on marketing

With the advent of the Internet, the web and social networking platforms such as facebook, digg and others, marketing has had to change gears.

The web has opened gateways to reach buyers directly with messages that cost a fraction of what traditional big-budget advertising costs.

It’s been said that the web is not about one-way interruption, (IE: In your face marketing/dvertising) but what Seth Godin calls permission marketing.

What works on TV, print and magazines does not necessarily work on the Internet.

David Meerman Scott’s excellent “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” explores the sea change in online marketing and branding from old-school rules of marketing to new ideas such as social networking, virals, blogs and most importantly interaction.

Amongst many of the old rules of Marketing that Scott analyses are:

  1. Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding)
  2. Advertising needed to appeal to the masses and is by-in-large, one way
  3. Advertising relies heavily on interruption to get people to pay attention
  4. Advertising and PR were/are seperate disciplines run by different people with seperate goals, strategies and measurement criteria

Whilst Scott offers the following as new rules on marketing/pr (Often referred to ‘convergence’);

  1. Marketing is more than just advertising
  2. People want authenticity, not spin
  3. People want participation, not propaganda
  4. The Internet has made public relations truely public, and global
  5. Blogs, video, podcasts, and other forms of online content let organisations communicate directly with buyers
  6. The web has merged the lines between marketing, branding and PR into one

In terms of press releases, the Internet has really changed the goalposts. No longer does a small business have to write to an editor of a newspaper with a “news worthy story” (whatever that might mean) and cross their fingers and wonder if the editor will publish the story.

With the Internet small businesses can use services like PRWeb and other third-party PR delivery systems that can send the story global.

Political advocacy via the web during this current American presidential election is perhaps a potent indicator that social media marketing, virals, blogs, videos, etc can make an impact; though whether online advocacy leads to offline voting has yet to be proved.

In terms of business models, one must be able to prove to customers that is worth paying $X a month for a service that they may get elsewhere for free.

A lot of what’s known as “web 2.0” businesses give away a majority of their content for free and for extras they create a premium service. That could be a premium online streaming TV channel, or premium content that you wouldn’t otherwise get with free access to their site., for example, has lots of free content but they have a premium service which gives you features that you wouldn’t normally get; such as HD video, upcoming news, demos and so forth.

An excellent technical book called “Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide: Business thinking and strategies behind successful Web 2.0 implementations” by Amy Shuen is an excellent book explaining how web 2.0 can make money and goes into far more detail than I can.

What the web has proven is that the Internet is not so much about technology as it is about people, using a variety of tools to reach customers/buyers directly and and engaging with them. Online marketing is now all about participation, connection, reaction, involvement and no longer about interruption marketing for the sake of interruption.

Links and resources;

Real estate goes social

Springwise’s latest article on real estate going web 3.0 talks about how various the web 2.0 real estate website “Love that place” is increasingly using social networks (whether third-party or internal) to help users search, discuss, rate, and register their interest in a property; regardless of whether it’s for sale or not.

As Springwise adds,

Property owners begin by creating a page and uploading photos of their place—simply to gather feedback and advice, or to test the market and see what other people think. Members of the site can leave comments or send private messages (forums are coming soon), and admirers of a particular property can even send a virtual “door-knock” to see if the owner would consider selling.

Love That Place is definitely more of a social network than a specific real estate website with features centered around conversation, facilitation and networking and essentially builds a relationship between people, regardless of whether they have something to sell or not.

Read more about this topic from Springwise’s original article.

Bhutto’s Son on Facebook Prank

Bhuttos Son

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto sent shock waves around the world, during the short period between her death and her subsequent funeral – there were reports that Bhutto’s son, 19 year-old Oxford undergraduate, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, was named to succeed her as the head of the family’s Pakistan People’s Party.

During this period, a prankster (as documented on digitalspy 1, 2 and consolecity) set up a facebook account using pictures found from the Internet and various other sources and put together an online profile seen by millions of college students around the world.

The prank facebook account did not disappoint in describing a portrait of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, which included his hobbies as being and avid “Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and eating junk food” with a picture of Zardari in a Halloween costume.

The prank was, at first, taken verbatim by many journalists and various worldwide sources – until it was uncovered by other journalists and Facebook members who promptly tipped off the website about the phony profile.

Of course, its not the first time that someone has done this, there’s loads of “fake” profiles on facebook, ning, myspace and even going back to Firefly (this is going back to 1997-1998 mind) there were people pretending to be a celebrity when they weren’t, but this is the first time to my mind that someone has used this “tactic” (if you can call it that) to be claim his/her “15 minutes of fame”.

Personally, I’m pretty ambivalent on politics. I don’t have much of a view on political issues, and really don’t have anything new, exciting or interesting to say about political issues but this prank shows 3 things;

(1) Lazy, gullible journalists who have a tight deadline will follow their gut/instinct rather than investigate the story further,
(2) Some people think its okay to use a person’s death to heighten their own “claim to fame”,
(3) You can’t trust the information because it just happens to be on the Internet.

Either way, this strange Facebook prank shows that there is a dark-side to social networking.


Niche video content

As reported on Springwise, is one of the many social video websites that helps web publishers bring subject-specific, niche-specific video channels to their own websites.


“Launched in beta version about a year ago, Magnify features a meta-search tool that combs the web for videos matching a site’s specific focus, such as aviation, soccer or college life. Users can also upload their own video content, and the resulting mix is available for sharing, rating and ranking by the community as well as integrating into playlists.

Magnify provides the templates and controls publishers need each step along the way, including site design and customization; video search, uploading, storage, bandwidth and sharing; and advertising, community, statistics and network tools. The service is free to users and its business model is based on shared advertising revenue with the websites that use its service. Magnify has grown from 20 sites to more than 2,000 user-generated video channels since its launch.”

Selling cars with video


So, you want to sell a car. Maybe you’ve got it listed on various classified websites, or maybe your a big car dealership CEO who just wants to shift more cars.

Now, you can use online video to sell your car.

Online video simply sells.

It sells better than pictures. Better than testimonials. And better than a list of features.

Video cuts through the hype and can lead to incredible sales.

So, is there anybody doing this right now?
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e-consultancy social media round-up

In October, e-consultancy released a free 11-page briefing based on E-consultancy 2007 round-table on Social Media, including topics as diverse as;

  • How should brands engage online?
  • What’s new in social media?
  • Leveraging social networks
  • Measuring social media as a statistic

More information can be found on e-consultancy website;

Social media briefing October 2007 (e-consultancy) (The document is free to download, but registration is required)

A CEO’s guide to Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Ning, Digg, Youtube, MySpace… these are all websites that you or your customers probably have used in the past, either to find old friends, to share ideas, or perhaps you’ve heard about how raving fans have promoted a product/brand for free in a spoof advert on Youtube?

So, you’re probably wondering what is social media/marketing/optimisation? Why bother? What does it all mean? And how can you/your business get involved?

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Facebook worth $15bn?

According to the BBC news website, Microsoft has recently invested $240m (£117m) in Facebook (article) in exchange for a 1.6% share of the company, totalling to a a value of $15bn (£7.3bn) on a firm that has only been in existence three and a half years.

I remember back in the day when big companies bought up popular buzz-filled websites Microsoft bought Hotmail, and when Yahoo! bought upcoming, when Google bought out Youtube — although this hasn’t happened with Facebook, it does raise questions about whether businesses are buying sites for buzz, branding, or on nothing but hot air?

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