Friday, October 22, 2010

Three Worst and Best Predictions I Made

This week is the 10th anniversary of "The Anatomy of Buzz" and it's a good opportunity to look back at some of the predictions I made in that book.

Worst predictions

1. " makes finding information about books extremely easy, but can the on-line reseller create buzz about a particular title? In their present state, on-line channels involve very little person-to-person interaction and therefore have a limited ability to push a particular product through 'hand selling,' to borrow a term from the brick and mortar world." (p. 221)

2. I still kick myself for missing this one: In January 1999 I attended a demo by a company called Quokka Sports which offered a glimpse at the potential of video on the Internet. After the event I talked with a friend about how one day perhaps everybody will be able to post videos online and consumers might even use this to share their product experience. I played with the idea for a couple of days, but it looked too crazy at the time.

3. "Viral marketing still has the strongest effect if your product can be somehow incorporated into the communication between two people. This includes phone systems (MCI), electronic postcards (Blue Mountain), free e-mail (Hotmail), and the communications tool that someone is inventing in his or her garage as you’re reading this chapter." (p. 196) I still think it's true. I was just wrong about the garage. He did it at his dorm room.

Best Predictions

1. "As more customers will spend more time on the Internet. As an explosion of wireless communication devices will increase customer connectivity even further. As these mobile devices will tap in to the Internet, customers will get even more connected to this vast depository of opinions, often right at the point of purchase." (p.20)

2. "In the same way that regional dialects continue to live on in the United States despite decades of national TV, local and regional influences remain important, despite the Internet. [...] This means that traditional marketing focused on zip codes, database marketing, and brick and mortar sales outlets are still key in spreading the word. The networks are still (and I believe always will be) pulled by social gravity to the ground around us." (p. 71)

3. "We can expect it to get worse. As with other tools, there will always be those marketing people who will use a new concept ad nauseam. Viral marketing is a hot concept as I’m typing these words, but I won’t be surprised if by the time you read this, a backlash is being felt." (p. 201)

The Jury is Still Out:

"Overall, aggregated buzz tools are good news to companies with high-quality products and excellent service and bad news to companies that try to get away with less than the highest standards. This doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that bad companies will disappear. But the rise of democratic measuring tools is likely, over time, to improve the quality of products and services we use." (p. 19)

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