This article is how to use web 2.0 for better marketing decisions. My claim is that Web 2.0 has naturally exposed a natural ‘alive’ segmentation via social networking sites. It is interesting how users have naturally selected their affiliations, networks, groups, friends, topics of interest etc. Further, users expand their natural ‘digital’ connections by linking up with other users growing their network. This behaviour is also transparent, as with time active users often change and update their affiliations to display their current taste and interest. As this happens every group or affiliation changes reshaping itself constantly. It is a natural biologically evolution helping marketers transparently understand their crowd.
This behaviour of choosing affiliation and constantly contributing to it, changes the network from how it was at conception to the current form. Even the very fact that many leave the network or become inactive when it becomes irrelevant to deviate from their interest highlights a term I coin crowd segmentation. This term is closely related to crowd sourcing [1], whereby the influence of fashionly distributed contribution decides or forms an opinion on an issue.
From a marketing point of view this is hot news. Fresh from the oven (market) – self expressed or confessed affiliation which are considered true. Read Groundswell (by Li and Bernoff from Forresters Research) if you don’t buy this line. Now, given that users form meshed networks of social links where upon they are a node as part of many social groups connecting other nodes; I believe that they form a segmentation. Definitely, it is not the best form of segmentation that a marketer wants but alas it’s worth every penny because it’s natural.
Segmentation is a crucial for any marketer. This helps them to tailor a product/service or advertisement specifically needed to a particular segment. You can put my theory to the test to examine if your network or your friends’ network on Facebook would work. Also, the point of contention is that how strong one’s digital connections are i.e. how many friends, how often would one’s online dialogues is viewed, commented or passed on. Or may follow many of the algorithms out there like [2]. A high digital impact (credible) node would have many friends (in Facebook) or followers (as in twitter) and perhaps they can be graded accordingly based on their impact. These nodes are a valuable point of reference. They are our click-of-mouse as opposed to the conventional word-of-mouth marketing. These nodes are worth to be approached for marketing or product endorsement according to every level or digital impact. For example – An individual having 1000 friends in Facebook can endorse a more important product as compared someone who has 100 friends. Given the rampant social recruitment within and across the social networking sites a high impact individual should not go missing under the radar..;)