If you are reading this then you are an ‘Informavore’ according to Jakob Nielsen who is a ‘usability expert’ with the idea that we are all now into ‘information foraging’. His explanation is that in the early days when site response times were poor then we would tend to stay on one or two sites and go through them in depth, now he believes improvements in search engines and response times have changed our behaviour.
We now follow the ‘scent’ of the topic that interests us jumping from site to site and skimming the text looking for instant recognition of the key facts that we seek. He has much to say on how to create readable content that will be easy to assimilate and gets the maximum across in the minimum number of words to suit this behaviour. All good stuff, and for those of us who are trying to maximise the use of online to ‘market’, ‘inform’, or whatever, worth following so here is the link, and following his advice I didn’t provide the link till I had made you read the above!!
BUT here is the controversial point – he doesn’t believe in Blogging! Quote; ‘such postings are good for generating controversy and short term traffic …. but they don’t build sustainable value’.
Jakob advocates that people will pay for expertise, and to read material with the expertise they seek. It’s an interesting argument, but it presupposes that we know what we want to buy, and in rapidly changing and dynamic IT market I very much doubt that is true. I have commented on the role of blogs and reactions in a previous post, and my belief is that a ‘content’-based blog with good tagging and regular updating is a rolling ‘encyclopaedia’ of new facts that can be used as a reference site. I guess if you have read Jakob’s comments on Blogs that this approach might be aligned to his definition of a series of articles published online.
However I believe there are two vital points to consider; the first is the old adage that ‘people buy people’, or in this medium readers want to identify personally with a Blogger(s) who they think will be reflective of their role and interest. Hence why this is the CTO’s blog, though we could have made it CIO/CTO’s blog in terms or readership.
The second is the real punch line; it’s getting near the point that technology companies can’t afford the cost of marketing their ever changing product portfolios! Remember the proud statements; ‘half of our product portfolio didn’t exist eighteen months ago’, now think of the cost of conventionally preparing and marketing all the conventional launch collateral. Well try this statement from the Financial Times; ‘IDC research shows that worldwide average vendor revenue growth will be 5.7 per cent in 2008, while the average sales and marketing cost envelope is growing by 7 per cent. Every dollar of new revenue that a vendor earns, costs more. Or in other words, the return on investment of marketing is declining.’
Seems to make it pretty clear that we are all going to have to work harder with our colleagues in sales and marketing on our approach to building our online customer experience, and that links back to the previous blog on this topic in checking for overall effectiveness of using a web site.