McKinsey Agrees: Web 2.0 is Not a Marketing Tactic

I have been involved in selling and marketing technology products for many years. Regardless of the technology, there is always one fatal error that too many companies make. They think that implementing new technology will solve problems when, in reality, processes and strategies solve problems – technology just speeds it up. Technology is meant to make processes, strategies, and cultures more efficient, not to take their place.

I have mentioned before in my blog that Web 2.0 technologies are not merely marketing tactics. Like many other technologies, Web 2.0 is simply a collection of tools that are meant to improve transparency and interaction. However, if you maintain a “closed-door” approach where you continue to think you are in control and play the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” game, Web 2.0 can hurt you more than it can help.

A friend of mine (who will remain anonymous to protect the guilty) forwarded to me a recent study done by McKinsey and Co. of over 2,000 companies worldwide who have implemented Web 2.0 technologies. McKinsey dissected the information between those satisfied and unsatisfied with their Web 2.0 efforts as well as by region of the world. You can read the study here: McKinsey on Web 2.0.

It is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it, however, I would like to point out a couple of the findings. First, those who were the most unhappy with their Web 2.0 results were those who had these tools forced upon them by the IT department. Those most happy with their Web 2.0 results were those who implemented the tools themselves with little to no involvement from IT. In other words, they believed in the philosophy first and then found the tools to help them deliver on their vision. (As a side note, this may also be a result of the fact that IT enjoys over-engineering everything while there are many free or low-cost tools out there for Web 2.0.)

The final factoid I would point out is that those companies who were most satisfied with their Web 2.0 results were those who made the internal organization changes to match the tools. Not only did it create major new roles or functions in the organization, it fundamentally changed the organizational structure. This plugs directly into the Navel Model – make the internal changes first and then find ways to communicate them.

Take a read and let me know what other gems you think are important to point out (besides the fact that McKinsey should take it easy on me for posting this report).


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