On the web consumers can have their information and entertainment needs
met without needing traditional media brands. The business models of
publishers and broadcasters acting as market places that bring together
audiences and advertisers are challenged. The formula for success online
means developing services so strong and compelling they draw in
audiences through 'must-have' propositions. This might mean radically
rethinking the approach and the content, but for brands that get it
right, the pickings are rich. Last year the team here at Digital ran
website product development workshops for firms from over 20 countries
and these notes share with you some of the framework we've been using
since 2000. We love great web content and want to see our friends and
partners producing even more.
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Product development for digital networked media
These notes share with you our approach in product development, and
the way that thinking about customer needs can help websites think
more broadly about their content, community and toolkits. They reflect
key elements media brands would want to consider in developing a
consumer facing online service, and also underscore the challenges in
getting the formula for product development right. In the web
environment, consumers can have many needs met without relying upon
classic media brands, so as publishers and broadcasters complete their
migration to multi-channel providers, they need to broaden their
proposition and reposition their role.
If the business model relies on acting as intermediaries between
buyers and sellers - bringing together focused audiences that become
value in the advertising proposition - then the formula for success
online means developing services that are so strong and compelling
they draw in audiences time and time again through a 'must-have'
states: What are they looking for?
Effective product development strategies begin by thinking about
the customer's needs, breaking them down into a series of isolated
elements that can each be explored and understood. Historically,
dotcom pureplay businesses have proved more adept at this than
classic media brands where the editorial or programming heritage
often restricts the team's aspirations.
What are the customers' needs?
For any scenario like this, the customer's needs are typically
broad and change over time. However, several clear strands
normally emerge in our product development workshops. in the
report we give some examples.
Travel information so I know how to get there and get around
Entertainment information so I know what I can do
Weather information so I know what to expect
Transactional services to let me purchase things I need
Language services to help me learn or remember key phrases
Something to inspire me and excite my interest
In terms of information provision, this could be structured as
several information types:
Information for direct decision making
Information for validation; typically knowing what other people
thought of something
Information that combines sources together to build value
Information that enables a connection between people
Information that entertains and engages (editorial content)
Remember that the information does not have to be generated in
total or even in part by the website publisher. The firm could
simply act as an enabler, architecting the right conversations
between different customers. The next step is to consider how
these ideas can be translated into specific content and services a
site or platform could provide to meet those needs.
practice: hints and tips on Digital Strategy
Solving the digital publishing skills crisis with
The skills crisis is everywhere and that's the underlying reason
so many classic media brands are haemorrhaging audience and advertiser
market share on the web.
Online moderation - deciding when to moderate comments in social media
As a web publisher, how do you deal with conversations between viewers
that descend into a flame war? Social media tools are great ways to engage
audiences and boost page traffic, but moderation needs to be taken into
account from the very start.
Seven simple steps for getting more from your website
Every firm has a website these days, but that's only the start of internet
marketing. Why do some websites do almost nothing for their companies and
others change the perception of a brand or generate massive numbers of
leads? Could you be getting more value from the time and money you've
already invested in your site?
A blog is for life and not just for Christmas
What started out in a techno ghetto moved to the mainstream of digital
publishing over three years ago. These days many small company websites
are run entirely by blogging software and many big company CEOs are
itching to write their own blog.
Web 2.0 in the West End, and the tale of two Tims
You could spend days unpacking O'Reilly's meme maps and digging into
what made the survivors of the dotbomb crash the success stories of
Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Google. But a simple way of looking at
this is as the tale of two Tims...
Online media sales? It's about
"Double your internet revenues every year for the next three years.
100%: that's the number." The chief executive of a magazine group is
addressing his troops with a war cry that has been echoed around the
publishing world. But the more I hear it, the more I'm struggling with
it. Struggling, not because it's bold - that's great and publishers
need to be showing leadership right now - but because most magazine
groups are looking for the answers in the wrong places.
Creating a digital strategy for a television station, newspaper or
There's been rapid change already, but the pace will accelerate from here.
"Creating content, toolkits and communities people want to spend
time with demands deep understanding of how consumers think and behave in
the digital networked society. Get the insights right and incredible
opportunities open up; fail to understand and the entire web project will
be pointless - it's that brutal."