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Community Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

According to Forrester Research, the permanent transition from IT-led technology purchasing (IT) to business-led solutions implementation (BT) means that marketers must begin adopting "community marketing" disciplines now.

In order to succeed, tech marketers must address new audiences, forge and deliver on more substantive value propositions, and play by the new Web 2.0 interaction rules.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, in practice, execution of these strategies will largely depend on your current talent pool -- particularly their digital marketing skills and willingness to change.

Technology marketing professionals must be able to participate directly in IT communities and customer adoption networks -- and guide the activities of other community participants.

That said, headcount allocations, internal relationships with other business functions, job descriptions, and incentives must all be tuned to support community marketing practices.

Community marketing processes treat community members as co-creative collaboration partners -- that scope problems, educate contract signers, discuss lessons learned, recruit partners, and catalog meaningful value.

Community marketing provides the means for customers and technology marketers to cooperatively create content and actions that lead to better business outcomes. The shift requires marketers to introduce tools capable of sustaining cooperative behaviors (such as blogs, wikis, social networking platforms, and content mash-up kits).

You can deploy Web 2.0 technologies to provide scalable, attractive community marketing capabilities to customers with common needs. However, these tools are not a general-purpose replacement for human touch and finesse. Technoloy marketers must have employees willing to engage community members directly.

Forrester believes that community marketing is at a significant inflection point within the technology industry. Embarking on important changes to your marketing mission, personnel, processes, and systems without a clear and candid understanding of your current situation can lead to major problems.

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