Posted by: Bret Simmons | March 25, 2010

The Informational, Relational, and Anticipatory Web

In this video, I describe what I see as the difference between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0. All the buzz is about Web 3.0, but for the small to medium size business I think Web 3.0 will be more hype than help.

Web 1.0 is informational. Your business has a website that provides information to potential customers either looking specifically for you or for the products and services companies like yours offer. Having a Web 1.0 is necessary for your business, but nowhere near sufficient.

Web 2.0 is relational. Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and most importantly your own blog give your business the opportunity to step out in front of your business and engage customers in conversation. Over time you can build trust, reputation, and social capital and through the power of word of mouth marketing you will find your business buzzing in places you never could have penetrated with your static, Web 1.0 website.

Web 3.0 is anticipatory. The web is learning how you behave as you attempt to simplify and enrich your life with information technology (e.g. cell phone, internet). When companies that can afford it get their hands on the accumulated information about your patterns of consumer and communicative behavior, they will try to anticipate what you might need or want as you go about your day – and because of GPS enabled devices and your help, they will know where you are almost all the time. I see these anticipatory tactics as spam; smart spam for sure, but still an interruption vs. a relational tactic. Get ready for just-in-time, mass customized spam.

The buzz might be about Web 3.0, but competitive advantage for most businesses will still be found via Web 2.0. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

The relational mindset and tactics of Web 2.0 are the cutting edge of content and inbound marketing. Yet as I survey the competitive landscape, I see very few companies developing and leveraging relational web competencies. If you are a business owner, that’s good news because it means you can still win the race to this new competitive space and force your competition to play catch-up with you.

If you are willing to do things your competitors are not willing to do, the opportunity to seize advantage with relational strategy, operations, and tactics is wide open. It is still very early.

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