The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras

[By Jeremiah Owyang]

Expect the Groundswell to continue, in which people connect to each other --rather than institutions. Consumer adoption of social networks is increasing a rapid pace, brands are adopting even during a recession, so expect the space to rapidly innovate to match this trend. Clients can acces this report; but to summarize what we found, in the executive summary we state:

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2009 Marketing Forum is up and running

As you can see from Jeremiah's post below, our 2009 Marketing Forum is up and running in Orlando, Florida,  with Shar VonBoskirk kicking off proceedings with (after lifting the audience with a resounding rendition of “M I C K E Y M O U S E!” – well, they are at the Disney Resort!) a keynote addressing how marketers affected by the recession, across the globe, need to treat their online planning and strategy teams as core parts of their business planning, taking account of the advantages of more accountable marketing channels. She urged marketers not to be stifled by the idea that a recession is a bad time to innovate; on the contrary, as interactive marketing channels continue to grow strongly, now is a great time to take innovative steps to reach consumers across online channels, with far less risk than many marketers perceive.

>More experts from the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks and iProspect take the stage on Friday to share their insights into how to get the best value out of interactive marketing in a recession.

The Forum is being held in the US, but the recession is an equal reality in Europe, and European marketers are faced with the same challenges – how to get the best out of their marketing spend, how to take advantage of the flexibility and measurability of interactive channels, and how to best reach and talk to consumers also feeling the bite of the downturn. Marketers struggle with understanding how they can identify key consumers in their European target countries, what technologies to use to reach them, and how to innovate, say using social media, to make a brand stand out from the crowd?

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Marketing didn't start in the Fifties

Saeed Khan's recent series of posts about social media started with a video that purports to explain the new rules of marketing in which social media play a critical role. This video repeats a familiar argument: old-style marketing went one direction, from the vendor to the customer. The consumer, presented with a smaller number of choices than they have today, based their purchase decisions on a variety of motives, both tangible ("Costs less!") and intangible ("Be more attractive to the opposite sex!"). Vendors created their own messages and transmitted them through normal advertising and marketing channels, in the hope that they would deflect consumers in their direction ("We cost less, and we'll make you look even better!").

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Podcasting: from the literate to the pre-literate

Now that the end-of-the-quarter madness is out of the way, I've had time to finish my inaugural podcast, under the guise of The Heretech. (That's the name of the blog where I cross-post, in case you didn't know.) The heresy motif helps explain some of the attempts at humor, if they seem a bit opaque.

Here's the Heretech post that links to the first podcast, and here's the link to the Heretech blog's feed (in case you want to subscribe via iTunes or some similar tool).

This first episode features an interview with my colleague Oliver Young, who has lots of interesting things to say about social media and how B2B buyers are using them to inform their decisions. Oliver has been instrumental in collecting and analyzing survey data about this topic. As an added bonus for listeners, we discover why Oliver will never be welcome on the East Coast ever again.

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