WWWW Conference Highlights
Doug Fuller and the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington did a nice job pulling off the WorldWideWebWashington (WWWW) Conference yesterday down at the Omni Hotel in DC. It was a packed schedule so I won't attempt to provide a complete recap; but, here are a few things I found interesting: Caroline Litte, CEO of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, described three objectives for washingtonpost.com:
- Foster conversation on the site. Example: they now have 75+ blogs and allow comments on every article on the site.
- Foster conversation off the site. She likened the web site to a big party and pointed out that, while they want lots of activity there, they aren't building a walled garden.
- Utilize multimedia effectively. She noted that many Post reporters have low-end video cameras now, and they use them to enhance their stories when published online. She believes that Gene Weingarten's recent story about world-renowned violinist Josh Bell being ignored by morning commuters would never have been so huge had the 35-second video clip not been on the site, noting that actually seeing people walk by while hearing the music made the story that much more powerful.
- "Let go, experiment, and react," meaning marketers should be open to trying new things and adjusting quickly based on user feedback.
- The silos of marketing, advertising, and PR are old school. The user experience of engaging with a brand, which happens across all of these, is what's important.
- The old steps of AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) still apply; but, they are spread out and happen in unpredictable places. An example (my own) could be: a brand gains attention in Google search results, interest on the subsequent YouTube video, desire in the comments under the video, and action (finally) on the brand web site. In this sense, marketers have much less control over the process than they are traditionally used to.
- CMO's are historically very channel-centric; but, they need to truly become consumer-centric because there's less control now and traditional channels aren't working.
- When encouraging user feedback, focus on passion, not just positivity. They provided an example in which people who commented negatively were invited to participate on a special feedback panel to influence a product they'd reacted badly to and in the process were converted to be equally passionate advocates.
- Be additive and subtractive, because functionality itself is a commodity.
- Manage, don't avoid complexity.
- Use effective, not best, practices. There isn't just one best way to do things in all situations.
- "A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist." -- R. Buckminster Fuller