Digital is Different

Web 2.0 apps…

This will be a long-running series… there’s some *really* interesting applications popping up.

Ning makes it incredibly easy to set up any kind of collaborative space, in moments.
Link: Ning – Create and share your own social web apps!.

Nabble http://www.nabble.com/ puts community groups into a very easily searched, cross platform, free service. Which, if nothing else, would get around the horrendous security barriers that some services (Yahoo! Groups) put up.

Customer Service Goes to Hell

(another from Wired)…
Though it seems like customer service by e-mail can be screwed up just like any other channel, it’s comforting to find that the web is just another medium for marketing. (Which I think I first heard from Drayton Bird, in his column in Marketing magazine, around the turn of the century.)

And ike any other medium, the quality of thinking, management, training and execution are all-important – just “doing it on the internet” only get a company so far.

Link: Wired News: Customer Service Goes to Hell.

“It’s about itself”

Neothis, neothat, and web 2.0: they’re all about themseves.
And we must now be heading for the neoweb, if social networking has morphed into antisocial networking.
I think it’s a healthy sign – part of a necessary trend away from awestruck worship of anything that’s online (“It must be true, I saw it on the web. Pass me the $42 million dollars from that nice man in Nigeria”) to a more realistic view of the world.

Link: Wired News: Antisocial Networking Gets Hip.

Digital is different

Digital Communications change customer relationships in the virtual & physical worlds.
Digital Customers change the companies they buy from.
Digital Marketing works from the customer’s ruleset.

So wouldn’t you expect marketing to change, from the ground up?

"Direct marketing – love it or hate it, it works. Otherwise companies that have to make a profit to stay in business wouldn’t do it, would they? Most people like what they receive – making distinctions between the relevant information they receive, and the poorly targeted. The skills that make direct and responsive advertising work well are long-established. And they work even better on the web. If you’re reading something interesting, and you want to find out more, you’ll do something if the advertiser asks, and makes as simple as a single click.

"And the web gives instant gratification – far faster than a telephone or reply coupon. A well-constructed site will answer all the questions you have, better than even a phone operator. The distance – measure it as time or mileage – between customer and company disappears. The quality and recency of customer information available to the company improve dramatically – there’s no middle agent to filter or slow down the information flow. Many of the costs of acquiring and managing customer information will also diminish or disappear.

"Just how can you take advantage of these innovations to make it easier to manage your company’s resources, tailoring them to meet your customer’s needs?"

These three paragraphs were written in 1997, for the first release of this website. I haven’t found a good reason to change them – yet.

TheCustomer.co.uk can help you:

    * Understand your present customers – & which of them are more profitable.
    * Speak to customers with a single voice, at every point of contact.
    * Measure the return on every change that you make.

Web savvy
Marketing led
Business strategy

What can digital marketing do for my company?
Suddenly – and the change has been dramatic – it’s not enough to offer your customers a quality product. It may be the best ever available. But if it’s not sold in the right way, with the correct support, business can be slow.
And as the number of media available for promotions increases, and as your target audience – your customers – move away from the media channels where you used to reach them, it’s simply not practical to advertise to the whole marketplace and guarantee success. Telephone sales and web media are  reducing customer’s need to visit the High Street to buy products.

The paradox of our age
Products  with excellent quality designed in are the least likely to fail, have never needed less service support, but won’t be bought unless there’s a visible and significant service to support customers.The web’s transparency forces the issue.

The customer has never had more control.
It’s not all bad news though. Customers will pay a premium for a service, over their top price for a product alone. And those companies that direct their resources to give customers maximum support find that they have created more efficient business processes. And efficiency makes profit.