Web Trends (From the August 24, 2007 Direct Sales & Marketing Symposium)
Last Friday, August 24, 2007, Aaron Ruteledge, one of the original founders of Inertia Beverage Group, discussed trends—why we find them and what the latest trends are.
For those who were unable to attend, following is an overview of the presentation.
Five Fresh Trends
1. Harness the power of crowds. Take a big, active user base and make something productive out of it. Get users to participate. Give them the raw material to have these conversations. Get involved with the conversations, and make the conversations more human.
Example: CORK’d (www.corkd.com) is a social network that allows people to share their opinions about wines. Users keep their own personal tasting notebook, and people can agree or disagree with one another. Users own their information and have control of their content, meanwhile, people are learning through the conversation.
2. Just let go. The wall of content is crumbling. Let knowledge leave your site. Allow people to share information. The things you write about — put it out there. Keep a blog so the people can access this information and re-associate it with your brand. Let other people use the information, making it more valuable. Encourage people to blog, discuss, and share your content.
Example: RSS feeds. RSS feeds allow people to subscribe to information, so they get alerted when something new comes up.
3. The long tail (based on Chris Anderson’s book). Technology allows us to push products that we were not able to push before. Shelf space was limited to popular items with bricks and mortar retailers, however with online retailing, everything costs the same to market.
Examples: Amazon (www.amazon.com). Amazon really has everything anyone wants. They’ll have that one part that you need. One-third of Amazon’s profits comes from one-time use sales.
Google (www.google.com). Google allows you to find the most intricate niche content.
Radcru (www.radcru.com). Radcru goes out and finds small brands and pushes them to the front.
4. Give and give often. The web is moving towards a real-time platform. Update a little piece of content. Update a piece of messaging. The leading sites strive to keep attention by providing unique content on a frequent basis.
Example: Wine Library TV (tv.winelibrary.com). Gary Vaynerchuck turns his personality into a daily video about something he is really passionate about. He uses the web as a daily entertainment platform.
5. Convergence is real, but nobody thinks about it. All these channels: TV, print, web, mobile – they’re all converging. Consumers don’t think of it as separate channels. To them, it’s all one big thing. No matter how you communicate or interact, it’s all one thing to them. The web is moving outside the browser now. E-mail, SMS, IM are weaving into everything. Create a seamless journey across all of them.
Example: Wine Woot (wine.woot.com). Wine WootBranched out of Overstock.com. Everyday at midnight they sell one product for 24 hours. Everything has the same tone of voice – webpage, RSS feed, or mobile.
Why find trends?
1. Trends give us a point of view. The more you understand the trend, the more you’ll have a better point of view.
2. Point of view leads to inspiration and innovation.
3. Inspiration and innovation leads to the development of new products, services, and experiences.