Millions have flocked to the Internet in the face of the Great Recession. Those ultra-active Web 2.0 communications will lead to an onslaught of user-focused technological innovations.
By Andy Marken
WHEN THE ECONOMY stagnated, financial analysts and economists were quick to say the tech industry centers of hyperactivity had lost their edge.
In the U.S., those industries become incapable of changing the way we live and work, the analysts said. These industries just can’t be counted on anymore to move the economy forward as it did, they said. In fact, the analysts said, other countries had the technological advantage. They had become the ones from whom to expect the new ideas and the products.
But that was then.
Since those early forecasts, the Internet has continued to boom. Laid off workers and the Millenials have convinced their friends and neighbors to get onto social media sites. Tech industries have discovered the Web’s marketing value.
The Web has become more versatile, more robust. Channel pros and OEM can share ideas quickly, regularly, and consistently with blogs, podcasts, vidcasts, video/photo sharing sites, social network sites, Wikis, message boards, forums, RSS feeds, you name it.
Indeed, technology innovators have learned to not only develop products (hardware/software) and services for the Web, but information, too.
Astute companies, with Twitter being a glowing example, have figured out how to turn the information and communication potential of the Web into a product innovation resource coming from users. They’ve let their own customers in on the product and application development.
Historically, engineers and scientists designed, developed, and tweaked a product based on their product goals or market vision. Customer bought and used the products that engineers made–the way those engineers intended it to be used.
Today, Twitter and other Web 2.0 entities have give the consumer a voice. A product’s development can be modified or added to based on what they user wants to use.
But that’s product development. What about real innovation? The kind that really shakes up the status quo?
While customer may not have invented stereo to replace mono, CDs to replace cassettes, HDTV to replace analog, or DVD to replace VHS, they were the ones that wanted better sounding audio and easier ways to enjoy it. They were the ones that wanted more efficient media libraries and better quality media.
So, when these innovations hit the market, it was the consumer that took it and ran with it.
The Consumer Factor
Because it’s the consumer that takes an innovative product and makes a marketable, world-changing product out of it, channel pros would be unwise to short-change them as they provide their input.
Innovators that leverage word-of-mouth initiatives managed to create customer bond that are difficult to break. Just look at Apple. Their customers are often more than market players; their fans. They actually love their Apple products, and they carry that sentiment to other potential Apple customers.†
Too many innovators rush their products to market, unload it as best they can, and then are forced to return with a newer, better replacement, making the same capital investments over and over.
Meanwhile, the innovators that actually relate to their clients are working with their early adopters and loyal fans in order to realize the future profits those groups represent.
It pays for innovators to be patient with their potential markets. They should introduce themselves, and help those potential customers fully understand the benefits of what they’re offering.
All of that will take communication, but fortunately communication channels are in no short supply. The rally of Web 2.0, especially in the face of an economic Great Recession, has proven that the market for technology is thriving. Actually, it’s fully engaged.
Technology consumers are logging on every day, just waiting to be invited to play a role in the great innovation. Stay tuned; it’s coming.
ANDY MARKEN is president of Marken Communications Inc.