Thursday, October 12, 2006

Microsites, Blogging and Business Blogshit

It's no wonder that a JupiterKagan study has reported that "promotional microsites will become more popular with larger advertisers during the next year." Microsites allow companies, especially large ones, to post content that doesn't have the same guidelines and red-tape that the main corporate websites have. This gives marketers the flexibility to focus on promoting a single product/service or product line while allowing for new features that may seem risky for the main website. It can also be combined with other marketing channels such as paid search and direct mail to name a few for a controlled integrated marketing approach.

Hypersites - Affordable Microsites that Increase the Hype

I was a bit surprised that only 30% of companies over $500 million in the past year use microsites according to this same study. I know that many of my own clients who are much much smaller (I know an association that uses one) use these for such things as product promotions, product launches, event promotions, email list builders (combined with direct mail), knowledge libraries and customer retention (customer surveys) to name a few off the top of my head. One of the main advantages of microsites that I see (we call them hyperistes) is the ability to personalize the experience using dynamic content substitution. Therefore based on a person's behaviour and/or attributes (eg: industry or product interest) different content is served up. While this is a great user experience that is customized on a 1 to 1 basis, it's still only one side of the conversation - the marketer telling the prospect about a new product or service.

Web 2.0 - Microsites on Crack

In terms of web 2.0, it was interesting that the study sees a "movement toward consumer-generated content" which it sees "will be an important component of microsites". This includes the use of blogs as well as other web 2.0 tools such as RSS, podcasts, video and more. The sky is the limit. This is the other half of the conversation which allows the user to have their own say and contribute to the conversation.

Business Blogshit Revealed

Blogs have a lot of potential but already we are seeing it being abused with fake blogs such as Wal-Mart's Wal-Marting Across America which was written by an "old couple" that were paid to spew happy praises about Walmart. What a bunch of crap. It was probably written by a couple of pro-bloggers or the Walmart marketing team. Marketers beware - if you're trying to establish a brand that people can trust, don't ruin it by lying to your existing or potential customers. We see right through it.

Remember: the Internet is a highway that goes both ways - your message can be spread out to the masses in a split second but the masses will also turn on you just as quickly if you try to dupe them. In addition, some of these blogs like the Wal-mart blog and the new Nissan Sentra blog don't even allow you to leave comments! So much for the "conversation" approach.

Lets hope that as we further adapt to the new tools of web 2.0 that we keep things real - the way that blogging was meant to be.

Chad H.

PS - I don't consider a blog a blog unless I can leave a comment. What do you think?
PPS - check out the comments for my post called 7 Days in a Crapbox (Nissan Sentra)
Who do you think really left that comment? :)


Anonymous said...

Hey Chad,
First, i wanted to let you know i found you from a ClickZ comment about the iBlog Business directory this summer. (I'm one of the directors of the company that operates it.)

In short, you can probably sense my position that a blog needs to accept comments:)

I hear your frustration with company's that hire professional bloggers that untintentionally miss the boat on the whole fundamental model of the blog. BTW- I'm also not a fan of the whole pay per post deal.

Anyways, we've taken the whole "write your own content" very seriously at iblog Business and continoulsy look for and dont accept spammers using syndicated articles, press releases, or other non original content...unlike some of the blog directories ive come across that just seam to care about how many blogs are in it:)

I'm a firm believer in playing it straight and letting the masses speak for themselves. Take care.


Chad said...

Hi Christian - thanks for the comment and your support. We'll see where blogging is going but I think organizations (especially B2C) will use them more for SEO advantages and branding awareness then to really interact with their audience. It's really sad actually. Thanks again.



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