In case you've missed it, the Web has changed; it seems like just yesterday it was good enough to take all your brochures and advertising collaterals and convert them to digital format, add a little search engine optimization, throw-in a little PHP programming and bingo, you've got a website. And if you wanted to show how cutting edge your company was, maybe you'd add a little dash of Flash animation, or some royalty free music. Well here's a bulletin from the frontlines, that isn't going to cut-it in the new multimedia Web-business environment.
Almost daily I receive emails from people asking me to review their websites and tell them why they can't convert visitors to customers even when they are attracting significant numbers of visitors on a regular basis to their sites.
The answer is both simple and complex: simple, because these websites fail to communicate the company's message in a meaningful manner to their visitors, which means no dialog is opened, and without a dialog, no business can be done; and complex, because the implementation of the solution requires a new way of thinking about communicating with your audience using sophisticated presentation techniques that put a higher premium on creativity than they do on facts, figures and old-school direct marketing tactics.
If you are looking for a mantra to begin any new website initiative or to correct an existing website disaster: Think Audience Not Customers.
New Words For A New Web-Business Environment
In the past while I've run across three newly coined words or phrases (Communitainment, Branded Entertainment, and Snack-o-tainment) that attempt to capture the fundamental change that has taken place among Web-user expectations.
All of the new terms have two things in common: one, they require the marketer to think of website visitors as an audience and not as customers; and two, they all require the marketer to use entertainment techniques as the basis for delivering content.
Communication + Entertainment + Community
The Piper Jaffray Internet Media and Marketing research team recently released a report entitled 'The User Revolution' in which Safa Rashtchy coined the concept of 'Communitainment,' a blending of the words communication and entertainment. Rashtchy uses the term to denote the "melding of communication, community, and entertainment," as a new formula for implementing the delivery of marketing content.
The report points out that "Video ads will be the driver of the next major growth in brand advertising