Julian Grainger

Head of SEO at Unique

Embracing the internet

Having a conversation the other day it dawned on me that businesses, outside of the cool kids in marketing, really haven’t started to embrace the internet yet.

An example where the way an HR department worked. They interviewed candidates only in their city. If someone wanted a job and they were from a different city they had to get themselves to that city to interview. Interestingly, their cousins in training have great interactive tools everyone can access.

Another example was a legal department. They feared the internet and all the bad things it could do to them. Especially email. The perception of an interruption of privacy because ‘this stuff’ appeared in their room on their computer. And they hadn’t ask for it! Seemingly they missed the point of the internet.

The conclusion I came to was that businesses were not embracing the core concept of the internet – instant, limitless distribution of information. And the newer concepts of interaction and communication.

We’re now beginning to see the start of Web 3.0 – the read/write web. A great talk on this is here at TED by Kevin Kelly. Most of these concepts for read/write have been around for a while but have waited for more open systems and bigger pipes. XML is a great example.

Yet the majority of business is being left behind because they haven’t yet embraced web 2.0. Some of these older technologies available to them can make them more efficient or provide them a competitive edge. But the technology sits on the shelf.

So even though this sounds like the same broken record everyone else plays, perhaps businesses can start looking at ideas like the following and join the cool kids in marketing. After all, the internet isn’t just a place to advertise jobs.

Skype interviews: Get the skype address from your candidates and interview them online. You can do it at your desk with a mic and camera. I means you can meet and filter those you don’t want and get them out of the office quickly. Especially for internet based jobs, you’ll easily know if someone is hooked up and plugged in when they ask you what skype is.
XML your investor relations releases: On the stock exchange for example there is no real reason why businesses can’t XML their corporate disclosure news straight to the exchange. It would be instant disclosure and instantly distributed to those investors subscribing to the feed. It also means investors get the information at the same time as their broker.
You can also RSS your newsletter, which is something we’ve had reasonable success with in article marketing. If you have it in RSS you can push to publishers who can choose to pick it up. If it is interesting your newsletter has become a great external marketing tool.
Instant message your account and project management: This is common in the internet world and not unseen for some of the larger bsuinesses like banks or insurance companies. But why just business to consumer. If you have a high touch account or project that you’re billing anyway, IM will provide that instant communication that will help you work through issues and solutions and save a few meetings and a fair bit of travel time.
Wiki your system documentation: A great service from an IT company would be to share a wiki with your customers. I know all you software people have one, you share it between your developers. But why not publish one to your customers? It can show them how you are developing the technology road map, what solutions other customers are consuming and invite feedback as you go to help improve your product. It’s business social marketing. Your customers can talk and sing your praises turning it into a great marketing tool as well.
Limewire your application: P2P networks have great distribution capability for businesses who want others to trial and test their software. It doesn’t have to be kids stuff, send business stuff down the pipes and see who picks it up. Someone somewhere is always searching for a software solution and P2P is an ignored area by businesses.

So as we move into read/write web don’t forget you might not have used yet.

 

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