The Decline of "Old Media" and the Rise of Web 2.0

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The Decline of "Old Media" and the Rise of Web 2.0

Eighteen years ago, Tim Berners-Lee launched the first "Web site."  Since then, the Internet has profoundly changed the way we work, play, and think. In fact, it has evolved to the point that every element of our lives is in some way connected to the Internet. And today, social media is at the cutting-edge of this evolutionary process.

According to a recent Forrester Research1 study, 71 percent of Chief Marketing Officers have slashed their ad budgets since the recession began.2 Most of the reduction is in traditional media: 61 percent in TV, radio, and magazine advertising, and 52 percent in direct mail. Eleven percent were even cutting their e-mail marketing budget. But interestingly, while seven percent planned to cut social media spending, almost half of the CMOs said they would increase spending on social media.

The Forrester study goes on to predict that online search, e-mail, social media, Web display ads, and mobile marketing combined will represent 21 percent of marketing budgets, or about $55 billion, by 2014.

This shift in spending will be enabled by a set of disruptive technologies that have changed the way businesses and individuals make buying decisions.

Starting in the '90s, Web 1.0 broke down geographic and psychological barriers to selling products and services. With the Internet, any business could more easily reach global markets and quickly create the impression of an established, credible business.

Now, Web 2.0 is creating communities online that allow buyers to connect with others and follow experts on whatever their interests might be. These connections allow buyers to effortlessly learn about new solutions that they might want to purchase. They don't need to weed through the information overload themselves; they benefit from others who do so. Because Web 2.0 has changed the way people buy, it requires a change in the way businesses sell.

The recession simply accelerated a phenomenon that was already happening. Spending on traditional marketing media had been declining for the last several years, but many marketers didn't embrace this trend until the recession forced them to cut their costs.

Today, there is no hotter trend in marketing and media than social networking. What started out as a way for "kids" to talk to each other has now become an essential part of nearly every company's marketing strategy. To make this work, it's now standard practice for companies to hire people for the express purpose of employing social media in advertising, product research, focus groups, and for many other areas of marketing...

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