When it comes to utilizing Web 3.0, there are a few companies that I consider to be game changers and in a whole different league from the rest. While analyzing Web 3.0 companies, I analyzed more than 100 enterprises across various sectors. I noticed that several shared similar qualities:
- Have unique traits and habits
- Started small and grew rapidly
- Are considered or becoming a household name
- Are using the Web 3.0 marketing tactics profiled
- Are pioneers in their space
Yes, there were other factors I noticed, such as growth rates, employee satisfaction, and size, but these less-tangible qualities were the ones that stuck out to me the most. Armed with a whole slew of intangible information, I have selected four companies that I deem to be innovators and companies exhibiting Web 3.0 business and marketing tactics.
The four companies I selected are Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Salesforce.com, and Cisco. Check out their profiles to see why I consider them Web 3.0 companies. These four companies are no exception!
Web site: www.Amazon.com
When you think of Amazon.com, you might think books. Granted, Amazon.com did start off by selling books, but it soon started selling pretty much anything you would desire, from CDs to deodorant to kitchen knives and everything in between.
Amazon has the distinction of being America's largest online retailer. Try to top that one, Wal-Mart! It puts the customer first in all respects. Amazon tracks your browsing and buying trends. Armed with that information, it creates a unique customer experience tailored to you! When was the last time you logged on to your favorite Web site and the home page was different each time and, oddly enough, packed with only things you might be interested in?
Keeping the customers first has drastically fueled its growth. What's great about this company is that it is run by innovators who are constantly trying new ways to improve the customer's experience. They recently launched Amazon S3, included a section for self-publishing books, promoted their famous Kindle device, and even purchased Zappos. I'd say they have diversified themselves quite well as leaders!
Why It's a Web 3.0 Company
- Kindle: This is Amazon's wireless reading device that allows you to read eBooks on the go as if you were reading an actual book (eliminating eye strain). You can find, buy, and read books instantly with its wireless access. You don't need Internet access to do this.
- Amazon S3: This is a highly scalable storage solution based on their proprietary technology.
- One-click ordering: I have a love-hate relationship with this. I think it's awesome that with one click of the mouse, I just ordered a product. The downside: It causes me to buy without thinking. Just visiting Amazon now caused me to preorder the next season of The Office.
- User-customized experience: This is what makes the company among my favorites! When you log in to Amazon, your screen is tailored to your personal buying and browsing habits. Don't like something they are showing you? Take it off instantly!
- Self-publishing books: Need to self-publish? Use Amazon's platform to get a book out into the universe!
- Innovation: It comes from the bottom. I told you they are innovators, but what Amazon really understands is that innovation doesn't simply come from the top!
- Amazon reviews: This feature encourages user interaction in rating different products and writing reviews. Amazon was among the first to offer reviews, and since then, reviews have become the norm on e-commerce-based sites.
- Testing: Its technology team is constantly tweaking and making things better.
- Mobile site: In addition to Amazon.com, the company operates a site that can be better viewed from a cellphone browser than can the regular site (a subsidiary of Amazon also owns a mobile marketing firm).
- Virtual reality worlds: Amazon has a presence on Second Life and many other VR worlds.
Web site: www.zappos.com
Zappos.com is an E-Commerce site that focuses on shoes, but has many additional product offerings from clothing and bags to accessories and sunglasses. It has gained a lot of forward momentum and awareness recently after the company went from zero to $1 billion in sales in nine years. Not only are people and businesses talking about its sales, but they are also really excited about the company's culture and service. Zappos prides itself on its unique culture and its commitment and dedication to customer service. The company loves doing things that are not considered the norm. For example, there is free shipping, a 365-day return policy and 24/7 customer service. Furthermore, if they don't have a product in stock, the call-center agent will locate the product on a competitor's site for you!
On a final note, the buzzword around Zappos is happiness! Their vision is delivering happiness to customers, employees and vendors.
Why it's a Web 3.0 company
- This company is constantly on the leading edge in their marketplace.
- They do things differently! Reread their vision statement. I have never read a vision like that before.
- They aren't afraid to spend money to test things out or on training.
- Customer services reps are rewarded for spending more time on the phone with customers.
- They encourage individuality.
- At Zappos, testing is the name of the game. They have tested pretty much any and every type of marketing form on the planet to see what works and what doesn't.
- They have had such great marketing success that they have a subscription service, Zappos Insights, which allows you to learn more from them.
- Twitter is being leveraged constantly. They have a massive Twitter following, and employees are encouraged to use Twitter to communicate. Not only do they use it, they treat their Twitter followers like raving fans and give many Twitter-only specials.
- They use open-source technology rather than proprietary technology to save on IT costs.
- They are rolling out a Zappos.com mobile site.
- They maintain an internal Wiki for employees to collaborate on.
- They have developed a variety of mobile Web apps.
- They track everything.
Web site: www.salesforce.com
The company prides itself on two things: applications for customer relationship management and their Force.com platform. In my opinion, they have also defined and shaped the software as a service industry.
They are best known for their Web-based CRM system that allows you to track and manage prospects, customers, employees, contracts and beyond. Essentially anything that relates to your company can be stored and developed in Salesforce.com. We use it to manage all of our leads and customers. Using their AppExchange, we have continued to deck out our Salesforce.com experience to make it further suit our business.
Switching gears, they recently released Force.com. Force.com is among the easiest places to build out business applications and even Web sites. It's a simplified programming model in a cloud-based environment. For marketers, this may not mean much. Rephrased in English for the rest of us, it's a place to build open-source type of programs to be leveraged.
Why it's a Web 3.0 company
- Salesforce.com is constantly on the leading edge in the technology marketplace. Attend one of their Dreamforce conferences, and you will be even further blown out of your seat as to where this company is headed! They always announce the latest and greatest changes to the platform, allow for on-the-spot customization along with various breakout sessions to help you use their tool. This information is only the tip of the iceberg.
- They understand that the growing model is Web-based and they view software as a service.
- Collaboration is key. Their users can collaborate with one another, across companies with the Salesforce.com team of employees, programmers and developers alike. There is very little that is closed communication across the company. Free-flowing information and ideas have helped keep this company growing strong.
- The AppExchange: thousands of applications that others have developed for use with their platform.
- They allow developers to run free. They call it Enterprise Cloud Computing. It's built on their Force.com platform. Build an application and share it with the world!
- Salesforce.com can be run on virtually any device. They understood that things were changing far sooner than most.
- They have been leveraging all the marketing tactics we've talked about in the book, many of them for years. Need I say more?
Web site: www.cisco.com
Founded in 1984, Cisco stands as one of the largest multi-national tech companies in the world. Its model has revolved around putting customers first and then establishing partnerships with those customers to identify their needs and offer solutions.
In addition, it offers hard products, solutions, software titles and services to a wide array of customers and partners around the world. Its collaborators understand all the critical elements to everlasting success.
Cisco became the leader in networking and has transformed how people connect, communicate and collaborate. If you ever hear the phrase, "Welcome to the Human Network," think of Cisco, as they enable everyone to be connected!
Why it's a Web 3.0 company
- Like all of the others, Cisco stays on the leading edge. As we speak, its programmers are building a smart and efficient energy grid.
- It has learned to adapt and capture new markets, called market transitions.
- Check out their list of product, service and software lines -- it's a mile long!
- Partnership Model: They know they need partners to succeed. They have thousands of partners and strategic alliances throughout the world.
- It is the worldwide leader in networking. Need I say more?
- They regularly conduct virtual shows.
- My Cisco: Engagement has always been a critical success factor. The My Cisco link lets you organize bookmarks, keep track of product and service announcements, support documents and collaborate with the Cisco team, whether you're a new visitor or a long-time partner.
- Live video conferences are the norm.
- They use Twitter, forums, blogs, social networks and beyond.
- Many of their products have virtual stores generating revenue.
- They are a major player in the mobile market.
There you have it: four of the most cutting-edge companies that not only understand innovation from a business sense, but also from a marketing sense. These companies have been talking about Web 3.0 and the next wave before most of the competition. Watch their moves, and learn from their marketing. Even though they are huge companies, they still act quite entrepreneurial, so don't be discouraged if you are a small company, thinking, "What could I possibly learn from a billion-dollar business?" The answer: everything. They didn't begin as billion-dollar companies. Like the rest of us, the developers started with next to nothing and built an empire -- and you can, too.
The above is an adapted excerpt from the book Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First by Michael Tasner. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Tasner, author of Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First
Follow Michael Tasner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaeltasner