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Marketing, now that "The Web is Dead"

Hello, Readers,

I know, it's been awhile since I've posted. Life has been busy, and lots of travel (for both business + pleasure) has kept me from the keyboard.

For now, I'll share my latest post that just went live over on the PARTNERS+simons blog. Enjoy!


The folks over at Wired Magazine created quite a controversy last week when they proclaimed, “The Web is Dead.

Throngs of bloggers, tech professionals, and media pundits weighed in with their thoughts on the subject. A co-worker of mine even framed the cover, preserving this day in pop culture history:

The Web is Dead
The Web is Dead

Why all the controversy, and why should marketers care? It has to do with the changing nature of media consumption and the role of your corporate website.

It should be noted that Wired makes a distinction between the Internet (the core infrastructure for transferring digital content) and the Web (the hypertext documents accessed over the Internet). In fact, the full article title is “The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet,” but the more provocative, truncated version surely sells more magazines.

We’ve seen a huge shift in recent years away from primarily Web-based browsing to platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display (e.g., email and instant messaging clients, mobile apps, networked games, iTunes). Wired points out that the HTML data delivered through the Web now comprises less than 25% of traffic on the Internet, and will continue to shrink as app adoption grows.

Why the Web is "Dead" (or Dying)
Why the Web is "Dead" (or Dying)

But to paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Web’s death has been greatly exaggerated.

To be sure, app usage will continue to grow, likely at the expense of browser usage. But marketers should consider apps as a complement to their marketing mix, and not necessarily a replacement of an existing channel. Just as the Web didn’t kill TV, and MP3s haven’t killed radio, apps have not killed the Web (yet, anyway). In fact, Wired’s attention-getting headline harkens back to the December 13, 2006 issue of Time Magazine, which predicted that user-generated content on sites like Wikipedia, Youtube and MySpace (yes, MySpace!) would “seize the reigns of the global media” and “beat the pros at their own game.” Of course consumer-generated content is now pervasive in modern media, but it has hardly “killed” more traditional outlets.


Does your brand website still matter? Heck yes; the Web is still very much alive.

But its role is changing: in a fragmented media marketplace, your brand website forms the hub of all other activity. It is here that you formally articulate your product and service offering, your value proposition, and your market differentiators. It is here that you anchor all of your offline initiatives, allowing TV viewers, radio listeners, and print readers to find out more (and share it with friends). And it is from here that you syndicate content to all of the new media channels now at your disposal, be it mobile, social or app- based.

Nielsen’s Pete Blackshaw said it best in a recent column for AdAge:

At the end of the day, brands today live a decentralized, if not fragmented, existence. The brand "home" has line-extended itself into a network of smaller residences and rented apartments -- or what we might call "brand stands" -- all primed for meeting and interacting with the consumer at various stages in the purchase, loyalty or advocacy cycle...A smart website feeds and refreshes the brand stands. It anchors the brand database, arguably the most coveted asset, and sets the tone and standard for the brand's ethos and attitude about feedback, expression and service. Put another way, it establishes that first critical (often unforgettable) impression. A great website also smartly syndicates, re-circulates and curates social content from the brand stands. Importantly, if we're truly entering a POEM (paid, owned, earned) media mix model, brand websites are key. They anchor the owned, reinforce the paid and incubate the earned.”

So rather than thinking about scrapping your website and focusing on the latest marketing craze, rethink your distributed Web strategy so that your site will best support all of the innovation happening around it.

PARTNERS+simons can help.



Thanks for the comment, PLR Content. I did note Wired's distinction between "Web" and "Internet" but the focus of my post was more on the marketing implications of this consumer behavior shift, vs. semantics or data on actual usage.

plr content

Perhaps you should have covered some more base regarding the errors in the cover story graph. This has been done by the blogger at boing-boing stating that the graph does not reflects the total "web" traffic which is actually increasing exponentially.

Thanks for your insights.


Very good article...!

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