The Rules of Engagement Have Not Changed

originally posted on Concept Hub

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel yesterday for CRMA on Leveraging Social Networks for Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service. Jeff Hilimire from Spunlogic was ‘kind’ enough to throw the first challenge to me, “define web 2.0.”

Web 2.0, like Web 1.0 is nothing more than an extension to what we do offline. When the Internet first became a mainstream tool to communicate, the technology allowed people to take their advertising, messaging, and transactions to the web. Many saw this as a revolution, which it was. It empowered more people to do business without geographic boundaries. IT Training companies flourished because to play in this new world people had to know how to use the tools. Innovative developers found opportunities in making the tools safer and easier to use.

So what has changed on the Internet that we now have this term “web 2.0?”

The increasing number of easy to use tools combined with the majority of the population having more of a comfort level with having technology as an everyday part of their life has changed the way we use the Internet as more than just a comparison shopping tool. Actually, it can be argued that the purpose of the Internet has returned to its original intent of collaboration and information as opposed to commerce.

So now there is a frenzy about what to do with all these people gathering and conversing online. How should a company protect its brand reputation? Do companies need to invest time and resources in learning more about bloggers? Is there a threat or an opportunity that needs to be investigated? And,  what are the rules of engagement?

It seems to me that all of these questions about online communities are already being addressed offline.

This morning a friend sent me a report that announced that Online Marketing Ranks second to In-Person for B2B in 2008.

That makes sense because the online world has just become an extension of our offline world. We connect with people, share information, buy and sell goods and services.

The report states that the Top B2B Marketing Challenges are:

Reaching decision makers
Deepening relationships with customers
Measuring marketing leads
Generating more leads
Improving lead quality
Increasing product awareness
Developing brand awareness

To overcome these challenges companies send their troops out to conferences, conventions, networking events and sales meetings to listen to what their target audience wants and needs are and to demonstrate that they have offerings that can satisfy them and solve their pressing problems. The Internet is just another meeting place. Nothing complicated, the rules have not changed. The technology, on the other hand, is in constant change – it should be another boom for training companies.