Certainly Steve Jobs did not look at the competition and say let’s be like those guys, Nokia, Blackberry, or Motorola when Apple first cooked up the much respected and popular iPhone. Apple continues to set the bar high and be trendsetters in the technology market. Once the iPhone saw much success, other companies tried to emulate what Apple accomplished by introducing iPhone knock offs. They all failed, some more than others.
It is so in the web marketing business. There will only be one Amazon, one Google, one Facebook, one Twitter, etc. Individually they are all good at what they do, they are trendsetters, and whoever chooses to follow behind them, does so at their own doing. Once the competition has built an insurmountable lead, it is hard to play catch up when its a blow out. Some may bring up the Google versus Yahoo comparison, but remember, at the time Yahoo was a human manipulated directory, and Google was and still is a search engine/search machine.
When redesigning websites, it’s good to get examples from sites that you’d like to emulate, but don’t forget about the people who use your site. What do they want, and what upgrades will make it easier for them to use your site? Currently, social media is the new it, but how do your potential customers and current customers feel about you tweeting and friending them on Facebook. Some may find it intrusive, repulsive, and some may appreciate the transparency, all depending on the industry you’re in. With the way social media is going, many are going to welcome the idea of businesses connecting with them, as long as that connection is not abused.
With social media and blogging, businesses have the opportunity to hunt and farm for new and current customers. Your company should not be cherry picking at this moment in time, waiting to see what the competition is going to do. The rewards far out gain the risk of embracing social media and blogging. The hesitation to participate in new media, is by far, not new. The same scenario happened with the introduction of the radio, and the tv, and look where those two technologies are at now in respects to businesses using them for marketing.
In this case, businesses can sit back and cherry pick with the risk of losing customers to their rivals who are aggressively using new media cost effective marketing strategies, similar to how companies sat back in the 90’s and did not create a web presence for themselves. It’s and all telling tale, but in this game, cherry pickers score few points, go home early, and trendsetters set insurmountable leads and will stick around for generations to come.