Consumer power

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"On the Web, relationships are for more horizontal, and anyone who doesn't care to be bossed can escape with the click of a mouse.  And many Web sponsors...have still not understood this.  The message on their sites is pure ego: We do this, we do that, we can make you happy, so make us happy by doing what we want you to do." 

-- Kilian, Writing for the Web 3.0, ch. 6

Unfortunately, I've experienced this end of corporate communication first hand.  As part of a marketing class I took last semester, I studied the strategies, typical goals, and mediums of integrated marketing communication.  We studied internet communication as part of this, both through corporate websites and online advertising.  We studied and analyzed websites first hand, but the audience often played a very marginal role in this process.  From the corporate end, websites are seen as a vehicle for promoting corporate image, reputation, and the business/marketing goals that the company has comprised entirely from its perspective.  Audience "needs" and audience "actions" are not considered beyond their roles in the company's goals.  For example, if the company has set a goal to increase the number of customer hits on a site, audience needs are examined in the context of what is needed to attract the audience to the site.  In other words, an audience's general welfare is not a big consideration. 

With the constant use and growth of internet and website communication, however, I think its inevitable that the corporate world will begin putting a more vested interest in their audiences.  Either the corporate worl turns a kinder ear to their customers, or their websites, and possibly their companies, will fail.

 

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3 Comments

Thanks for sharing this perspective, Jackie. The internet was thriving as a cultural force long before the corporate world noticed it and decided to try to make money off of it. Corporate websites that refuse to link off-site -- fearing that any link will lose "eyeballs" and cost money -- are only thinking of the short-term situation. If I found a useful link on Company X's website, even if I don't spend any money on Company X today, I might nevertheless recommend Company X's website as a good starting place, and thus in the long run add to the traffic that passes through Company X's website.

But corporations that run according to 20th century rules are rarely open to this sort of thing.

Daniella Choynowski said:

I agree that these corporate websites see visitors as little more than a statistic. Consumers are intelligent people. Yes, self-promotion can be a powerful marketing tool, but truth, information, and education must be intermingled or the corporation's credibility will dissapear.

It's amazing what people make money off of on the inernet. I had no understanding as to why the google creators were billionaires. It seemed like just another stupid search engine. Ads, ads, ads. Put ads on your site and watch the bucks roll in.

Kilian states that "the message on their sites is pure ego: We do this, we do that, we can make you happy, so make us happy by doing what we want you to do."

Corporations are all about money. Like you said, "websites are seen as a vehicle for promoting corporate image, reputation, and the business/marketing goals that the company has comprised entirely from its perspective." While the web is a valuable asset for corporations, it seems that these companies are using these sites to their advantages, but they need to keep in mind either the corporate world turns a kinder ear to the customers, or their websites, and possibly their companies, will fail.

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Denamarie Ercolani on Consumer power: Kilian states that "the messag
Daniella Choynowski on Consumer power: I agree that these corporate w
Dennis G. Jerz on Consumer power: Thanks for sharing this perspe
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