The world of communication and marketing is worried because of the consecration of digital medias, an highbrow word used to talk about the web by people who are suddently feeling out of date.
For many people, the revolution brought by the web is the so-called new “power” that’s in internauts’ hands. According to me this power, that has to be relativized because old rules still apply and only 1% internauts really use this power, is only one side of a global shift of the point of contact between a business and its environment.
People didn’t wait for web 2.0 or social media to talk about companies and products in their back. Over a cup of coffee, in real life, first, then on forums and, after, on social medias. It changes many things and made them more complicated for businesses is that discussions are scattered all around the web what makes it hard to take an inventory of them and follow them. This scattering is not a bad thing when one know of to take the most of it but causes headaches to people who consider corporate communication as a centralized thing.
Scattering can be an opportinity. The (few) companies that “buzzed” wisely are a good example. Those who crowdsource too even if they could do much better. As a matter of fact, what’s sure is that internauts don’t want to be pulled toward a corporate site anymore. On the other hands they are opened to the messages and to discussions provided the subject is relevant and the discussion takes place on their own ground. Now the only way to adress the audience is to do it on Facebook, Linkedin or any social network of this kind (even blogs but it needs some targetting), most of all if rather than delivering a message the purpose is to start a discussion to get opinions, advices, to ask for participation.
When a business decides to follow the internaut on his ground, there is something to be aware of and an answer to find. Be aware that no one can prevent a discussion from happening and an issue to be discussed. The question is to know how, among allÂ these discussions, some of them will be about something the enterprise wants to be discussed, even questions it would like the audience to answer.
If businesses keep a centralized approach, the risk of getting nowhere is obvious. If they accept scattering, they have suggest topics, focuses. Some slowly learned how to make their message “exportable”, in order to make it “embeddable” in one clic, on any media. One clic allows people to say they love a product or a given content : businesses understood the opportunity and made it easier to do.
This principle will soon have to be able to apply to other fields than product communication and marketing. For example, enterprises who use crowdsourcing to improve their product or innovate and submit challenges and problems to their audience (as many do onÂ innocentive for instance) will have to learn how to viralize the challenge by making it exportable and exportable, with two lines of code to copy/paste.
This also impacts the most traditional corporate functions, like recruitment. While everything has been taking place on the corporate website for ages, the most clear-sighted businesses understood that communication and transactions have to be separated. While the website is used to apply, communication, discussion, requests for information may happen anywhere on the web. What can be seen as a threat a-priori, becomes an opportunity when a real employer brand strategy is implemented, allowing personalized interactions instead of considering applicants as parts of a uniform group.
That applies to many fields : attention is gained everywhere all around the web, not on the corporate website. This last will only be used to process the final transaction, which is the real purpose of the whole approach.
There’s nothing new here for people who’ve been working on this issues for a while. But what matters now is that communication managers understand that the purpose of their site is to be a place for transaction, communication taking place elsewhere. More, a part of their job will be to favor the spreading of all the conversations and exchanges outside of their site. If not they may simply miss their audience.