Chapter 2. Community and Content: The Marketer's New Job (Or How to Cut Your Marketing Budget and Reach More People)

Although the next generation of marketing is in its infancy, the social web is already having an effect. More to the point, you're going to be caught up in it, no matter what kind of business you're in. Marketing's goals will remain the same as they've always been—to attract and retain customers. However, marketing's role has changed, and the social web is promoting that change.

"Customers are demanding to be more engaged with the companies that affect their lives," is how Diane Hessan describes the change. As president and CEO of Communispace, which builds and runs private online customer communities, Diane sees unmistakable signs that the social web is part of that change. "Booming trends like blogging, online communities, flash mobbing, buzz agents, and MySpace show that customers have a lot to say—they want to be asked and they want to be involved." If you haven't already heard about flash mobbing and buzz agents, you soon will. Flash mobbing is assembling a group of people via the Internet or other digital communications networks; they suddenly appear in a public place, do something unusual for a brief time, and then disperse. Buzz agents are recruited for the purpose of shilling; they talk up the product or service without identifying their connection to the company.

For a glimpse at the social web's influence on the role of marketing, consider GlaxoSmithKline's ...

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