New dynamic technologies and the new media (ie. wiki, blogs, podcasts, social networking sites, etc) are reshaping the way that companies interact with the world. There has been a major paradigm shift in the ways people work, communicate, conduct marketing initiatives, retain intellectual capital, and build specialized knowledge both inside a company as employees, and outside of their company as individuals.
The Difference Between Old Media and the New Media
Old media (newspapers, magazines, tv) is marked by its passive nature. The user must go buy what is produced, consume it, and dispose of it eventually. The only interaction the user has with the old media is to read or watch it. Old school media can also be very environmentally unfriendly, requiring millions of trees per year to produce. Old media is relatively costly to produce (printing), maintain (subscription costs), distribute (to newsstands), and dispose of (recycling). The new media has a more active or engaging nature, where the user can access the media swiftly through a computer or portable device and participate in the evolution of the information more fluidly. It appeals to younger generations because it is media instant gratification. Many of the costs of these new media are very low because there is little or no printing, subscription, distribution or recycling costs. All you really need is an internet connection and a varying degree of technical knowledge.
Consumers Become Active Participants in the Evolution of Companies and Products
Web 2.0 has in essence leveled the playing field for the average consumer significantly. The end user of a product is no longer just an end user. Now individuals who use technology are empowered to influence the rest of the market. A few popular blogs with negative or positive posts about a product or company can have a real impact on purchases and help build positive or negative equity in a company’s brand. In Japan there is already a system of consumer driven blogs that is accessible via cell phones. The cell phones are used to obtain in store reviews/ratings through the blogs and the result is changes in purchasing behavior at the point of purchase. More informed decisions are being made by more educated consumers with quicker and easier access to information via new media. The upshot is that companies will be pushed to produce increasingly diverse array of products for emerging niches in Web 2.0 and they will have to do it before their competitors do.
New Media Case Study: Blog Explosion
The recent statistics from blog-tracking site Technorati showed that there are over 50 million blogs and counting. The half a million mark was reached on July 31st 2006. The blogosphere has been doubling in size every 6 months or so. It is already over 100 times bigger than it was just 3 years ago. On average, there are 1.6 million posts per day, or 18.6 posts per second. That’s 175,000 new blogs per day worldwide. In January of 2004, the blogosphere was doubling at a rate of once ever 120 days, which is about once every 4 months. By July of 2004, the blogosphere was doubling every 180 days, or about once every 6 months. Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size every 200 days, or about once every 6 and a half months. David Sifry estimates that he will be posting about the 100 millionth blog tracked sometime in February of 2007. To learn more about these statistics read the David’s State of the Blogosphere for August 2006. There are some really important metrics new media in this report.
Businesses Take Initiative and Seize Web 2.0 Opportunities
Businesses are recognizing this new media paradigm shift as an opportunity and are taking the initiative to grow with these powerful dynamic technologies. New media marketing campaigns are being spawned cross-departmentally, including comprehensive blog strategies and podcast plans. These campaigns actively engage an ever-growing technology mediated customer base and are gaining real time feedback to improve products on the fly. Efficient and pliable wiki are being deployed internally to eliminate redundancies, build intellectual capital retention systems and knowledge systems for highly specialized teams, work groups and departments. External wiki are being utilized to facilitate remote work processes with contractors and partnered companies. In many instances the wiki are being deployed company wide.
What Can Utilizing New Media/Web 2.0 Mean For A Company?
- More revenue
- Better overall efficiency
- Less redundancy
- Streamlined work processes
- Higher quality products & services
- New products
- More diverse range of offerings
- Better brand recognition
- Low cost or free PR & marketing
- Increased intellectual capital retention
- Reduced intellectual capital flight
- More organizing information and data
- Ability to build “knowledge systems”
- Fluid inter-departmental communication
- Less strain on email systems and servers
- Ability to train new employees faster and better
- Happier employees
- Lower employee turnover
- Reduced HR Costs
Diversifying Strategies with New Media
Rather then picking just one of the new media, comprehensive and diversified sets of media are being utilized by companies to meet their strategic business and marketing objectives. What is critically important to remember is that no single type of media is necessarily a one shot solution for any business to achieve it’s goals. Each piece of the new media must be understood and applied for the right purposes, in the proper way and at the right time. To understand how each piece fits in with your company the proper research and analysis should be done first. Selecting the right tools and technologies is equally important to achieving successful new media initiatives.