Web 2.0: Marketing by Providing Value

As I noted in a previous post on Web 2.0, marketing on the “new” web is about providing value to prospective customers. I was recently able to connect with Kwame Kuadey of Gift Card Rescue to discuss his web 2.0 strategy.  What I found is that, regardless of your industry, the basic principles of web 2.0 apply.

Kwame began marketing Gift Card Rescue through traditional means: he set-up a website, initiated a branding campaign, and “put a stake in the world wide web’s ground.” What he learned was that the old theory of ‘build it and they will come’ is only partially true. In an effort to increase traffic to Gift Card Rescue’s website he began a blog, Gift Card Blogger. Instead of focusing on his company and what he wanted, he instead decided to provide relevant and important information on gift cards. That’s right, he started providing value to potential customers instead of just his services of buying and selling gift cards without the risk of fraud.

Providing Value Builds Success
Today, over 35% of Gift Card Rescue’s traffic comes directly through his blog, and he believes that a large majority of his other hits are a result of the increased traffic, resulting in better search ratings, due to his blog. In addition, through his blogging and writings Kwame has positioned himself as a leading expert in the gift card industry, a move that will pay public relations rewards many times over throughout the busy holiday seasons.

What you can learn from Gift Card Rescue
Regardless of if you are in marketing in a professional services company, a construction company, or a non-for-profit, you can look at the Gift Card Rescue model and learn three things that will help you to be successful in the Web 2.0 marketing world:

  1. You must begin by developing a strong website, brand, and an easy to navigate web presence.
  2. You need to provide value to your potential customers: You can do this through posting white papers, starting a blog, sending out weekly tips, or just explain the best way to engage a firm that provides your type of product or service. Remember, DO NOT SELL, rather provide relevant and helpful information.
  3. Leverage the value that you are developing and sharing through your website, blog, or network to establish yourself, your company, and/or your product as the best in the field.

Success in a Web 2.0 world
Success in Web 2.0 strategy, be it on LinkedIn, blogging, or as part of an online community such as Civil Engineering Central, must be defined differently than in traditional marketing. For me it is the relationships that I have made as a result of this blog, for others it is public relations, and still for others it is increased name recognition. What is important is that you identify your objectives and then focus your Web 2.0 presence to meet those objectives.

Johns Hopkins University Fellows

jhu_careyIt was mid-November 2006 at Johns Hopkins University Mt. Washington campus that I first met with the 30 students and 6 faculty that would make up the Fellows inaugural class. This past weekend 26 of those students, including myself, completed our MBA degree program and spent time together celebrating the successes of the past two years.

Changing Seasons
It is in these moments that I am reminded that life’s seasons must come and go; each one with its own share of difficulties and opportunity. As I enter this next season I find it hard to leave the last one behind, but I choose to embrace whatever is next so I do not let the new season slip through my fingers.

To the Inaugural Fellows Cohort
To my classmates, congratulations! It has been a long journey in which we experienced an unparalleled MBA program that challenged our theory of how we learn and replaced that theory with life experiences and consulting opportunities that resulted in true education. I consider you my friends, as well as my fellows.

To my professors, thank you! Rick, for your leadership and vision for this program; Sheri, for your dedication to a well rounded learning process; Cris, for your enthusiasm and challenge for excellence; Bill, for your unwavering commitment to our education; and Capers, for living out your call to mentor and advise others. You are truly a distinguished faculty, a group that I am grateful to call my friends.

Congratulations Fellows!
Congratulations to the Class of 2008 Fellows from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School:

Todd Meyer, Jeanette Koon, Chien Cheng, Hadi Annous, James Davis, Ali Askari, Ruksana Khan, Gina Kwack, Kulbir Singh Sandhu, Joy Prakash Nanda, George Wilson Hilton III, Mark Bradshaw Kraeling, Tim Klabunde, Gene Theus, Eric Cory McKim, Scott Boring, Robin Costa, Shirley Knox-Murry, Robert A. McFadden, John R. Sedivy, Jonathan Edison Bradley, Kranthi Mupparaju, Dawn Elyce Kemp, Kwame Kuadey, Segun Toyin Dawodu, and Robert White

I look forward to changing the world with all of you!