Sunday, January 04, 2009

Moving away from "my" media to "our" media

I helped create my first commercial website back in 1998. (To see what the Infosys site looked like in 2000 visit the web archive project ) For most of the next 10 years at various firms a lot of my online efforts have been centered around driving traffic to the company website. The techniques varied and got more sophisticated - we started using professional SEO, paid for adwords, signed up for distribution networks like Techtarget. But essentially it was all towards driving traffic to "our " website.

Quite a bit like the old sandwich-board chappies drawing customers to a main-street shop. It wasn't till last year that this old model finally looks a bit frayed. 2009 might be the year when businesses will be expected to provide customers with ALL the information they need, where they are, and not expect to entice them elsewhere, to a corporate portal. So if your potential customers are on Facebook, Youtube, or LinkedIn or any other online hangout, you may need to start - and perhaps even close -the conversation there. Some like Youtube allow businesses to do this legitimately and easily - you can buy yourself a channel. Others, like Facebook are still experimenting with various models to demarcate commercial vs personal.

Marketers have of course been using ads in popular hangouts to get attention and get potential customers to visit their sites. The difference is that now the ads have to be infotainment and the potential customer may not want to leave their hangout and may just want to transact with you where they are. For a generation brought up with paypal and ebay and amazon the concept of visiting a corporate website to close a transaction may seem sooo old economy.

So essentially there is a shift from "owning" your prime online property - your corporate website - to "renting" it from a new media firm. And you will have multiple such leased sites - at all the popular hangouts. Today, for most marketers these "rental" properties are still intended to direct traffic back to your "own" website. But I am not sure that will continue to be feasible. And, while it is great to become your own broadcast channel and leverage the ready audience proferred by these hangouts, the rents will rise as these hangouts overtake traditional media in reach. So what can marketers do to build their own "rent-free" properties in a world that is increasingly congregating in a few hubs?

As part of Wipro's efforts to expand on the new medium and present content in an interesting manner, we posted a "Holiday Story of SOA and Penguins" on youtube. It is a pilot and it still needs some editing so it wasn't promoted - but we still got over 1400 hits in a week. Sure, a corporate website picks up that many hits in a minute - but that is from folks who were already interested in your firm, whereas this video is targeting those hanging out on Youtube, with an interest in SOA (or perhaps penguins). This story got picked up by Financial Chronicle too. So for a limited spend - just the animation cost - we got pretty good airplay. But that brings me to my original concern. How do I ensure that I have a powerful channel of my own that does not rely on aggregators like Youtube? Ideas welcome!

Thank you for reading this blog. I wish you all a 2009 filled with peace, joy, and true recognition of the power of marketing!


R said...


Great you tube with the penguins. it was classic and to the point!

R "Ray" Wang
Vice President
Forrester Research

manuscrypts said...

hey, a happy 2009 to you too :)

remember writing about this 'stage of conversation' a while back..check it out :)

Jessie Paul said...

manuscrypts - i think the conclusion is going to be that most of these 'good intent' conversations will end up being on aggregator sites. these sites are like magazines - fixed bunch of subscribers with defined tastes, whereas corporate sites are like books - content in search of an audience. magazines are more profitable :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Jessie,
I guess you are right by saying magazines are more profitable than books. But this may be due to the fact that Magazine covers various aspects and stories while a book focuses on one thing. So bringing up a site like magazine is always beneficial.

Now about various ideas to make corporate sites sell quickly, then I think VIRGIN mobile can be an answer for that. For attracting customers they started to pay them for incoming. Similarly, you can pay a customer for clicking on that link, and also for bringing the traffic to the site with their reference. This is quite a tedious process, but can be worked upon. One can post the link on Facebook, Orkut, Linkedin etc to bring more traffic. Also "Linkedin" is becoming more and more corporate in their working type. SO one can opt for Linkedin also for free publicity. These sites do offer free publicity spaces and so can be very useful. I am still thinking on the subject, but what came in my mind, I thought of sharing with you. As and when I come up with some new and even better ideas, I will come running to this site.

Kunal Kant said...

If i understand it correct,we would like to create our own Channel or TV online for our public videos. Inorder to do that we can use tools like streamcast,
details about it are mentioned here

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