NBC Reverses Declines by Embracing Behavior Changes

Written by on August 26th, 2008

Social media, online community, interactive websites provide businesses new opportunities

A central theme of my book Internet Dough is that the behavior of consumers have significantly changed by the introduction of practical, compelling and in most cases free services on the Internet.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were having to discuss “who provides the Internet?”, “Why is it free?”, “Who then pays for it?”  Later there were hours and hours of discussion about not putting personal information online and or using ones credit card.

All that started to change in 2004 as social media in the form on online communities, photo sharing sites and even ecommerce sites became more interactive and engaging.  Since that time, businesses of all types started to introduce Internet strategies to:

  1. Allow customers to “self serve”
  2. Deliver services faster
  3. Offer new products and services
  4. Reduce costs to the consumer
  5. Cut costs

In the process, by adopting Internet strategies companies world wide collectively began to change the behavior of consumers.  The more practical web based services offered, the more time consumers spent on line.  Today, according to a Time Magazine study, consumers are spending an hour more online per day than they do watching TV(…More…)

A Tire Company Online Community?

Written by on August 24th, 2008

If a tire company benefits from having an online community, so would YOU!

I was talking to a friend the other day about his desire to create an online community.  He was hot on social media and wanted to get in on the game.   He was struggling with what kind of online community he should create.   He owns a game company and has an enormous amount of content that he gets from the gaming companies about upcoming releases.  I suggested that he offer a members only online community where he offers the inside information he is getting.  Now he’s trying to decide if he should charge or make it free!

Our discussion got me thinking about the many clients I’ve spoken with who had similar thoughts.

  • Who would want to come to an online community for a cleaning company?
  • Who would want to come to an online community for a manufacturing company?
  • Who would want to come to an online community for a service company?

So what do I tell them?

My suggestion is to think out of the box.  Think about what your organization can do to make the world, your community or neighborhood a better place.   What are the burning issues that people who use your product are facing?   What can you do to give your clients and others a voice in solving those issues? (…More…)

Emerging Social Media Job Descriptions!

Written by on August 19th, 2008

The Internet is changing everything!

Businesses are having to learn on the fly how to play and do business in a world where the behavior of consumers are changing literally overnight. While many organizations saw the changes coming, most are still unaware that the Internet will fundamentally change the way they do business.

The statistics are easy to find everywhere. In just 4 years, social networking sites have exploded. Sites like YouTube grew to over 100 million users, MySpace to 180 million users, Facebook to 90 million users and even Linkedin (a business networking site) is growing by 1 million users a month!

When you compare that to the fact that the New York Times which was founded in 1851 has only 1,000,000 subscribers you begin to realize that there has been a fundamental shift in consumers behaviors.

What we are suggesting is that social networking, Web 2.0 and online community tools, techniques and strategies are introducing new ways for businesses to acquire, retain and engage their customers. The only problem is, few businesses know how to effectively use them. Worse companies don’t have the right staff to efficiently move their companies into these new areas. (…More…)

Lessons to Learn from Radio

Written by on August 5th, 2008

The Akron Beacon Journal, now a part of the Black Press newspaper chain, ran a great article about WKSU-FM, a radio station I worked for when I was in college, oh …so many years ago.

Paula Schleis the reporter zeroed in on how Al Bartholet, WKSU Executive Director used Internet technology, online community and archived content to create a profitable new product.

Bartholet had three issues he knew he had to deal with.  First, fewer young people were listening to classical music and as a result it was increasingly difficult to grow their listenership.  Second government support for public radio is continuing to decline and finally, maybe the worst of all,  the behavior of his listeners was changing rapidly.  They were becoming much more net centered!

A little brainstorming produces results!

Al had a very successful program produced by Jim Blum that aired on Friday nights.  Every program was recorded and over a couple years the station had develop a huge number of hours “in the can”.  As their team brainstormed about how they could embrace the Internet instead of worry about it, the idea floated up that they create an Internet radio station built around folk music.  For Public Radio,  this idea was not evolutionary, it was revolutionary! (…More…)

Starbucks Missed the Boat?

Written by on August 3rd, 2008

About 6 years ago I sent an overnight letter to Starbucks headquarters suggesting they consider offering their customers a private, password protected online community to continue to build their brand, engage customers and gather more data about their customers.

At the time my firm provided online communities to groups and organizations in the higher education space and we were looking for a way to leverage our product in the commercial market.  The company executive I sent my letter to was preoccupied with other issues at the time and my subsequent follow up phone call was met with a response,  well – similar to what you’ve heard from time to time in your  career – don’t call us, we’ll call you!

Fast forward to 2008 and we see Starbucks coming out with what they call their new customer online community called Mystarbucksidea.com.   The community offers customers an opportunity to help direct where the company is going and is modeled after a number of successful examples including Dell’s  Community Forum and Salesforce’s Ideastorm.   (…More…)