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The internet ecosystem? ‘What should I do and where is it heading…’ (by Denis Doeland, 28 February 2013)
Introduction Wikipedia describes an ecosystem as follows: ‘An ecosystem is formed by the interaction between all organisms and the abiotic environment within a certain geographical or otherwise defined entity. The term ecosystem was introduced by English botanist Arthur Tansley in 1935 and developed by American ecologist Eugene Odum. Examples of ecosystems are a forest, but also the whole earth. Some even consider a pot plant to be an ecosystem. Parts of an ecosystem are individual plants, animals and microorganisms and the complex which they form, for example in the form of living communities and populations. People often see ecosystems as dynamic and functional entities.’ The Internet is actually an ecosystem. It is an ecosystem which consists of a community which is connected online, formed by end users, developers, suppliers and distributors. They use each other’s strong points, complement and strengthen each other to create added value together for other end users (for example: clients or fans). As a company, organisation or brand you should be a part of the entire internet ecosystem. Even more so when you wish to have a better chance of being embraced by the end user or the (future) fan or client. In addition, as a company, organisation or brand you must realise that you exist thanks to content (intellectual property) and that you offer functionality and are data. The content is distributed via the various user interfaces of the web, the social channels, the (mobile) apps and the open APIs or interfaces where developers can develop their functionalities themselves. It is time to determine a strategy. Make choices concerning which groups you wish to cater for, how and with whom you want to cooperate and select the ecosystems you wish to be present in. Develop suitable products, (new) online services and seduction techniques. This requires the necessary creativity. Allow yourself to be inspired by nature’s inventiveness: the
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flowers and the bees, the frog and the fly. Create an (online) business model where you can take the lead as compared to your competition or other market parties, the organisation is stimulated to innovate and enables you to reach (new) clients and hold on to them. A very important difference is that the parties who have a good strategy, which is based on a place within the ecosystem, are the ones who can let the processes seamlessly connect with each other and benefit from this. The parties, which ensure that the fan or client has the optimal experience, which is connected to each channel, will benefit optimally from this. This requires a fundamentally different attitude towards the various parties in the ecosystem, not only to the social networks, but also to the individuals. Where previously the emphasis lay on competing and protecting within the collaborations, the emphasis is now on working together. On listening to, participating in and anticipating on the data which is created in socalled ‘conversations’ and ‘interactions’. This data must be stored, analysed and related to the data which you (possibly) already have. A short overview of the content of this document where an insight is given and trends are signalled on the aspects below. A number of trends are indicated with each of these aspects. • • • •
Vision Strategy Execution Value
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Vision It is clear that Social Media or individual social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. are still approached in an isolated way. Silo thinking is in our blood. It is integrated in our way of doing business and it even shows in the various, individual, business functions Social Media can affect significantly. Social Media channels are often approached separately, without any integration with the total marketing approach. Let alone in combination with other channels. Companies, organisations or brands rarely ask the question ‘how the structure and efficiency throughout the entire organisation and its network can be improved by Social Media’. People are blinded by the old push principle, literally sending (communication) messages. Customer Service, Human Resource, Research & Development: aforementioned aspects are rarely addressed. These are the areas where the mechanics, which take place on the social channels, can often be the most efficient. Managers often dismiss Social Media. The failure to use Business Intelligence, which is created on a daily basis thanks to Social Media, is a good example of this. The implementation of Social Media in the current business model, or Social Business, is not simply hype: the adoption of social channels and the far-reaching impact of it on all company processes are only limited by the questions which people ask and the level in which people can, or dare, to operate outside the limitations of the silos. Companies, organisations or brands must couple the various own domains and social channels with each other and provide the end user with an optimal user experience. Trend In the past decades, marketers overestimated the value of entirely measurable factors with regards to the emotional factors. This resulted in the marketer losing the emotional connection with their fan or client. A company, organisation or brand that does not create a positive connection with its clients becomes exchangeable for any other company, organisation or brand that does. The comprehensive internet landscape has changed and the rules of the game change in accordance. Fans and clients would rather listen to each other than to the communication messages from companies, organisations or brands. A logical consequence, because whom should you listen to with such a wealth of choice for providers where the products and services are barely distinguishable. Fans and clients integrate the new rules into their daily lives while companies, organisations or brands still stubbornly steer clear from it. It is clear that the fan or client has become more assertive and powerful. In the future, fans and clients will need a ‘Likeable’ company, organisation or brand. Fans and clients wish to be seen and heard. Dialogue is the key word. The fan, the client wants to be treated as a ‘human’ again. Establishing an actual connection and ‘speaking’ with the fan or client is what it is about.
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Strategy We are currently living in a digital feudal economy where social platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter etc give unlimited (free) access to our data and behaviour by way of the Social Identity which is created there. The ‘Single Sign-On’ button is the holy grail which leads to connection on the basis of demography and relevance. It is the button which gives access to the data of the profile itself, the references but also the purchases and promotions of a fan or related client. The strategy must therefore be coordinated with this. Standard data from the Social Media channels, such as those which exist at a number of companies, do not offer direct value. Only after meaningful correlations, analytics and setting up (additional) earning models on the validated ‘fan’, ‘tweets’ and ‘like’ data (in)direct cash streams can be generated. The value of the company, the organisation or the brand will increase in the form of potential goodwill. The strategy must be coordinated with the collection of data from all possible sources.
Trend ‘Single Sign-On’ (in short SSO) allows end users to log in once and subsequently automatic access is granted to all applications and resources in the ecosystem of a company, organisation or brand. Fans or clients log in with their favourite Social Identity (for example: via Facebook or Twitter) or their user name /password. The SSO module collects this data to then enter it automatically, or to add to additional data if requested, when a fan or client wants to open an application. When the end user has logged in, the SSO module takes over the login process and allows an automatic login in all applications and systems which the fan or client has access to. Therefore the fan or client does not have to login each time. The application is immediately started if they click on an icon of an application. The login screen is removed and no longer displayed. The advantages of ‘Single Sign-On’ are: • • • •
Straight-forward for the end user. The end user is more productive. The registration procedure is tightened. Data from Social Identities is saved in own database.
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Execution It is clear that the internet is an ecosystem and that we have the urge to think in silos. What should we do now? The silos need to be literally broken down and an internal and external ecosystem should be created. The first step is to determine which domains, networks and equipment you wish to serve within the own ecosystem. Subsequently determine which ecosystems you wish to connect with. The image below displays an ecosystem.
The second step consists of connecting all data sources from these domains and networks. By way of the ‘Single Sign-On’ button, which is described in the previous paragraph, you can extract the data from all networks. You should integrate the button in the own domain, all applications which you construct and by way of landing pages or an application which you integrate in the various Social Media channels. A platform which supports such functionality is ‘Social Brand Builder’, for example. Trends A number of trends on the execution side have recently become clearly visible. SoLoMo (Social Location Mobile) A term that we increasingly see is SoLoMo, an abbreviation for social, local and mobile. These three components concern the behaviour of a fan or client. A large group of fans also make use of Social Media during a visit to an event. In this way a large amount of the event visitors share photos with family and friends during their visit. People use messages on Social Media to keep their family and friends up to date with their adventures via their mobile (smart) phone from the location where they are that moment. Among other things, smart phones are used to check in, to find out if friends are present and to look at reviews from other fans.
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Customer Care (Social Care) Social Media has become a crucial part of the fan or client contact. A company, organisation of brand which serves large groups of fans or clients, has no other choice other than to use these channels to react towards fans or clients. Some fans or clients would not make contact with the company, organisation or brand without Social Media. People used to do this via the mail, then came the advent of call-centres, and nowadays fans or clients use the various new online platforms. Social Media channels are used for contact with fans or clients. It is obvious that service should get the most important role. Therefore it is important that the marketers are aware of how the staff members of the company, organisation or brand can increase the brand value. They are often the first and only contact point between the fan or client, and the company. The loyalty subsequently increases. Fans or clients who make contact with a company, organisation or brand via Social Media are generally more loyal than other fans or clients, according to a case from ‘Social Brand Builder’. These groups of fans or clients will operate as long-term ambassadors and can promote the company, organisation or brand in their network. A condition is that they are effectively, quickly and professionally assisted with queries and comments which they communicate to the organisation via Social Media. Live It is clear that the internet is a ‘real time’ phenomenon. Where previously one would have to wait for a reaction or content, this now occurs in ‘real time’. Companies, organisations and brands must react to this trend. Photos, videos, audio and text can be curated and published in the own domain, or via the own applications or the own social channels. In this way you demonstrate that the fan or client is involved with the company, brand or organisation. The content, which is created by fans or clients, can be saved, followed and the data of it can be analysed. This in turn gives many opportunities for subsequent actions. Connection ‘Single Sign-On’ allows fans or clients to log in a single time, where subsequently automatic access will be granted to all applications and resources in the ecosystem of a company, organisation or brand. Fans or clients log in with their favourite Social Identity (for example: via Facebook or Twitter) or their user name/password. Now you have a connection with a fan or client.
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Value Inventory, hardware, stock and debtors. These are less and less important in the valuation of a company. The approach and the behaviour of banks, valuators and investors endorse this. But what does increase the value of your company? While historical value will continue to play a role in determining the value, it primarily concerns future cash flow. By making advanced and careful use of the own domain and Social Media networks new and digital marketing profiles can be created from this data. So it can be determined that the value of companies, organisations or brands which carefully organize and ensure this increases.
Value creation “Creating value at IE by using Internet and Social Media concerns being able to, in the basis, establishing, distributing, maintaining and optimising current and new digital relations on the various internet platforms where (in)directly and in a demonstrable way additional and future net cash flows can be generated” (ed. The Voice – A supplementary earning model (Denis Doeland/Pim van Berkel)
The words “establishing, distributing, maintaining and optimising” refer to the costs of work and means. In addition it concerns the “digital relations” on multiple “platforms”. Digital is a key element with this, in the view of the fact that this makes it clear that it does not concern a whole stack of addresses or other traditional marketing activities. Naturally there is possibly still a little overlap between the digital platforms and so-called “churn rates”, just as with off-line marketing. Twitter users can be the same as a Facebook fan and vice versa. The rise of Social Media gives companies, organisations and brands an extra possibility to reach and follow their current fans but also future fans and clients. A direct relationship can be made, which was not the case with the traditional off-line marketing.
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The step which companies, organisations and brands must make is to collect and analyse the data to subsequently implement a follow-up strategy or entirely new (marketing) strategy, with the objective of increasing future revenue.
Trends There is a huge wealth of data, also called Big Data. Is it a hype? Can you as a company, organisation or brand wait for the (strategic) deployment of data or it is actually already reality? According to McKinsey, who have published a scientific publication, the effective use of data and analytics increases productivity, profit and market value of companies by 5 or 6 per cent. In some industries the strategic deployment of data analysis can even make the difference between profit and loss. ‘Big Data Storage’ and ‘Big Data Analytics’ are two current trends. These two trends are inextricably linked to each other: not the level, but the way in which people want to make use of data determines whether data is ‘Big’ or not. The requirements which are connected to ‘Big Data Storage’ come from the analyses which people wish to carry out on the data. ‘Big Data Analytics’ concerns data which is: • • •
Rapidly available Comes from multiple sources. Is supplemented with other (unstructured) data.
One can take things even a step further. Consider internal and external data. These should be linked to each other. You can call on this data in real-time to optimally communicate with fans and clients and make tailor-made offers. ‘Big Data’ is therefore not something for the future, it’s a reality now.
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About DDMCA DDMCA assists brands, companies and organisations to apply internet and social business to meet the new expectations of fans, clients, staff members and other involved parties. DDMCA helps give their voice a place in business and in the internal organisation. In the combination of development of knowledge, sharing of knowledge and consultancy in the area of deployment of internet from the organisation and social business sees DDMCA taking its place as a leader in itâ€™s field. DDMCA offers its services in the form of, among other things, consultancy, analysis, lectures, valuation, training, social media monitoring and internet monitoring. Clients of DDMCA are both major organisations as well as smaller ones who are aware that communication and conversation will continue to play an even greater role in and outside the organisation. DDMCA clients include Marlies Dekkers, 22tracks, JoinFeedBack, Dance Therapy, Armada Music, Extended Music, Eurosport, B2S, 2Dutch Agency, 8ballMusic, Whoopaa, HRMatches, Werk en IK, Muziek Centrum Nederland, Herome, Amsterdam Dance Event, JunkieXL. A good internet strategy begins with a good Action Plan. DDMCA is specialised in making of Action Plans. Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us. Contact: DDMCA - Keizersgracht 330b firstname.lastname@example.org
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Special thanks to Paul Sparks of the Bright Spark Media Group for helping out with the translation.
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