Seth Godin is often the first to understand the impact of new online technologies for businesses and 8 years ago he made the following predictions in his great book Meatball Sundae (the title refers to the problems that established companies (Meatballs) have at using internet marketing (Sundae) appropriately – he goes on to show how this failure presents all sorts of opportunities for new businesses who know how to function and market online.
• Direct communication and commerce between producers and consumers
• Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities
• The need for an authentic story as the number of sources increases
• Extremely short attention spans due to clutter
• The Long Tail
• Google and the dicing of everything
• Infinite channels of communication
• Direct communication and commerce between consumers and consumers
• The shifts in scarcity and abundance
• The triumph of big ideas
• The shift from “how many” to “who”
• Democratization of the wealthy
• New gatekeepers, no gatekeepers
When you read this list 8 years on from when it was written, the first thing that strikes you is how right Seth Godin was – if there is an overarching message from Godin, then I would say it is that to market online, you have to make it easy for people to talk about you, but more important than that you have to have a product worth talking about. The point is that because consumers can talk to each other, then if your product is any good or if it is awful (and easy to find) then it will be talked about and you will be found out.
So although everything is different in the internet age, somethings stay the same – the best businesses are built on quality products and customer service. The internet just means that you will have more competitors and that you will be found out for what you really are, good or bad!