Industry pundits and market analysts have lots of advice to offer companies pondering the implications of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, PR 2.0, social media or conversational marketing. The blogosphere and conference circuits are full of what experts have to say about the urgent need for business transformation, for companies to “embrace the groundswell.” Threats loom, as expressed in this quote from a leading source:
If you have a brand, you’re under threat. Your customers have always had an idea about what your brand signifies, an idea that may vary from the image you are projecting. Now they’re talking to each other about that idea. They are redefining for themselves the brand you spent millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars, creating. …Business-to-business companies are, if anything, more vulnerable to these trends.
— From Groundswell, Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research, 2008
If you’re a practical, action-oriented business person, you’re probably wondering about the incremental price tag. Hold on to your hats: if you work for a mid-market or larger company, you could easily be looking at a start-up investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of your existing marketing budget. Here’s why.