Let other sites “be your website”

This is a strange but rather interesting idea: Modernista, an ad agency, doesn’t actually have a real website. Instead, the just provide a navigation layer that sits on top of various websites that have the relevant content, i.e. a flickr gallery of their work, a google news page with news of the agency, a wikipedia page (or facebook profile) with the descriptive info of what the agency did in the past and offers for their clients.

(via online spin.)

Chrysler listens, Starbucks wants ideas.

There seems to be a concurrent trend. Two companies just announced new projects / plattforms on which they want to listen to consumers, engage them, discuss product development with them.

Starbucks launched the website “My Starbucks Idea” on which they aks users to provide Starbucks with their ideas:

You know better than anyone else what you want from Starbucks. So tell us. What’s your Starbucks Idea? Revolutionary or simple—we want to hear it. Share your ideas, tell us what you think of other people’s ideas and join the discussion. We’re here, and we’re ready to make ideas happen. Let’s get started.

As you would expect, you can post ideas, vote on other’s ideas, discuss ideas, etc. In addition, there is a blog called “ideas in action” that covers the project. At the moment, some sources are rather cynical about the project, because people mostly just ask about free drinks, fre Wi-Fi, etc. I am curious to see if there will be some really good ideas with added value resulting from this approach.

Chrysler, on the other hand, will launch a “customer advisory board” of up to 5.000 consumers chosen of those who will apply through the website to take part. Once they can access the forum, they can submit ideas, get a sneak peak at videos, etc. It will be interesting to see if they can capture the right target audience, to quote autoblog:

However, we’re a little unsure if the tactic will provide Chrysler with what it needs to shape the future of its products and services, considering that the only people likely to sign up are partisan pistonheads who are already married to the Mopar camp or slighted customers looking for a place to vent.

For some companies, this change in dealing with the (online) target group has resulted in successes, as Ad Age writes about the Dell case study:

This sort of online listening post worked for Dell, whose IdeaStorm website resulted in a few concrete product developments and, in turn, helped to turn some of the computer-maker’s fiercest critics. One of them, Jeff Jarvis, went from a state of high dudgeon on his blog to praise the company in BusinessWeek.

In my opinion these approaches should probably work fine, as long as there is added value for both sides. If the consumer ideas and suggestions are crap, useless, unreal or simply silly, the companies might soon stop asking consumers in this fashion. It would then be much easier to go back to the old fashioned model of focus group research, where the noise to signal ratio is much better.

On the other hand, there should be some real improvements/products/ideas coming out of these approaches, making the whole outcome visible to the participating audience, showing them that their little contribution did infact change the way these companies go to market (even if the resulting outcomes were not your own idea, you would appreciate the effort made by the company).

Otherwise we’ll start having similar symptons as you have in German elections nowadays. You feel like your vote is too small to make a difference – and heck, no matter what people vote for, it doesn’t feel like things change much anyway. So why bother.

Google and Apple and the no compromise for bucks philosophy.

Just the other day I posted this graphic at my german blog:

applegoogle.jpg

The graphic is from this place here. Just today I found the ‘corresponding article’ about ‘how google and apple dominate‘ whatever field they are moving into. Written by Umair Haque, this article goes into the “no compromise for bucks” philosophy that is at the core of their DNA – Goople’s DNA, as he calls the two companies:

The ends they’re working towards are similar: Goople aspires to – with laserlike intensity – change the world for the better. And where most of their competitors will sell out everything they believe in for a few bucks and a latte, Goople is deeply, radically purposive: they won’t compromise much, if anything, to achieve the goal of changing the world for the better.

Go read that and remember the graphic above. And then keep this in mind whenever you’re thinking of a company’s strategy.

Don’t fall for any “basic tips of how-to”

I usually try not to write negative about things, because unless it’s constructive criticism for the creator of the content, nobody gains much. But since there is no possibility to comment on things at marketingvox, I will do it here.

I am referring to the post with the title “How-to: 9 Basic SEO Tips“. It caught my attention, because just the other day, I had a discussion with colleagues at the agency about how creative agencies rarely know how to properly search engine optimize the websites they build.

However, with the 9 basic tips, we won’t get very far either. Let me quote some of them:

Find out how well you rank online. [...] It may be helpful to download the Google Toolbar, which gives you the “PageRank” score for websites. Pages are scored on a scale of 1 to 10. The goal will be to make this number higher on your website.

Ok – and how? (It doesn’t say). Another great tip:

Submit your site to search engines. Do it personally; avoid “submission services” or software. You only need to do it once.

I won’t continue with other tips like “place relevant keywords in the title tag” or “use alt tags on images” that they also featured.

Was any of this new to anyone? Please ? If so, just leave this blog immediately. In fact – please leave the internet and switch off your computer completely.

Gheez – we’re in 2008 by now, it’s not 1998 any more!

Not sure about the target audience of marketingvox, but for this article, it sure isn’t your average webmarketer!