Are Web 2.0 products such as blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other forums a gathering place for egocentrics, eternally dissatisfied persons, and know-it-alls - or is it a global stage for opinion leaders, trend-setters, peer groups, or in other words for crucial minorities, that dominate majorities, taking on a pioneer role in society that becomes serious and predictable?

User generated content

Is the undisputed authenticity of the represented Web 2.0 sufficient to make a projection of unique target groups? And if not, what management role for the brand can be delegated to become "user generated"? Will it become the new source for motivation and market research that delivers faster consumer reactions to brand managers? Or the other way around: will it be more important for brand managers to encourage consumers systematically so as to get a reaction to the brand and offer in future? Will it still be key to first convince opinion leaders and those who see themselves as experts, as they will then encourage others to participate and give an opinion?

Psychographics and Demography

Quite obviously target groups in highly developed markets move from fringe "youth craze" to much broader and general population strata. Consumers are largely defined by demographic structures and combined into target groups. Today - and especially tomorrow - psychographics are the key.  Sadly you still have to look far and wide for analysis models on the Internet that respond to it, even though traditional media have invested heavily in this field of research over the past few decades as it does offer a vital planning aid. The Internet is not reflecting this knowledge and acts upon the principle of "calculated vagueness". Maybe this is the reason why advertisers still do not invest with the same enthusiasm in new media?

The New World of Opportunities

Asia jumped directly from letter writing to the Internet and mobile phones, which provides a completely new starting position for marketing. Consequently the launch and support of brands via new communication measures also has to be considered anew too. Do brands arise on the Internet from "talk of the town" only or by "word of mouth" without traditional advertising? Dell, Zara and Starbucks, for instance, have proved that it is possible to succeed this way. Marketers should remember that Asian audiences should be addressed in a more visual than verbal manner. An image culture with a strong aesthetic definitely prevails in Asia – therefore brand productions, based on cultural archetypes as well as myths and rituals, are particularly effective.

The prognosis replaces the coincidence by random error

New Media is generally an arena of inaccuracies, which also promises at the same time exciting new channels that reach out to courageous and intelligent persons. Those who do not have the heart to explore new ways in marketing will soon be left behind by those who show an entrepreneurial flair, courage and initiative. Experiment and put your hard earned expertise and know-how together to succeed. Tackle projects with a sporting frame of mind - skills and luck determine the game, just as in real life!

By Daniela La Marca