The Future of the Corporate Website involves People

A few days ago, I ran a contest for two winners to receive free tickets to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in Portland. The winning responses, based on insight, ability to back up their predictions and being succinct were Christopher Smith and Kristie.

I’ve selected the two winners, here’s their submissions:

Kristie Connor, a Marketing Consultant
, submits on the concept of ‘fluidity’. I like this concept as the corporate website won’t be the only container of brand and product content but also this content will spread to wherever the conversations flow on the web: Social networks, blogs, friendfeed and wherever else. She writes the following:

“Corporate websites of the future will be less about canned content and more about fluidity. Meaning, the consumer will demand websites that are connected to the ‘users’ and ‘consumers’ personal networks which will promote and instill word of mouth as a best practice for business development and ultimately sales. The infrastructure will be designed in a way that company developed case studies, webinars and such will be replaced by real consumers leaving messages and user created video’s. The back-end will be light and built to accommodate the interactivity of users and social networks. Customer generated content will be ranked higher in search engines and push the website owner to move in the direction to capture mind share.”

Additionally, this evolution will put the consumer in the driver’s seat which will drive accountability from outside in.

Christopher Smith, VP of Digital Media Marketing and the Creative Director at MediaTrust submits an excellent piece highlighting that people, real humans will be front and center, rather than the stock photo and corporate happy talk, I couldn’t hope and agree more. Perhaps the future holds a ‘customized’ social network where people you actually know that work at the company are front and center on the website, or customers that are connected to you on your social graph:

“Jeremiah, in response to your contest I submit the following:

I actually believe in 5 years the “corporate website” as we now it will no longer exist. Gone will be the days of the static brochure site, supported by a “dynamic” sub-branded social community. There will no longer be the “self-service” document download centers, or the video case study hiding the infomercial inside.

I see the corporate website as hub of individuals that become your first point of contact, and guide you through your search for products, service or support. Consider the example of the Apple Retail Store experience and extend that to the web. You are going to the corporate site for a reason. Even casual browsers to a corporate site have a passive agenda. Virtual corporate ambassadors will assist you in your interaction with the company, blurring the lines of sales, CRM, and support, with the use of chat, video feed, guided browsing, VoIP… the list goes on.

How will this happen in 5 years? I have already begun this work for my company’s new site, and have begun working with our customer experience team from the tech side to insure that we begin building the opportunity today and defining the process in design and test.

And yes, I already have the date in my calendar, and plan on attending as much of the conference as I can. The downside of winning your contest will be that I am required to visit my mother in law if I am Portland.”

Doh! Have fun with your mother in law Chris. For additional reference, do read my post on the Irrelevant Corporate Website, and how to evolve it. Although over a year old, we’re just starting to see websites evolve.

15 Replies to “The Future of the Corporate Website involves People”

  1. thanks for that great question – it inspired me to write also an answer to this question on my blog. I know it’s to late for winning the VIP tickets, but to think about this question is very valuable even if you don’t get an incentive for it 😉

    Here we go:

  2. Interesting insights! Its like a corporate social media utopia!

    Now we just need to help companies overcome the fear and anxiety of turning something that was once in their control, over to the crowd.

    Social media counseling maybe?

    Great ideas and I love the blog, thanks for sharing.

  3. I predict the corporate website will have much more video product demos, video tutorials,live streaming event video, and videoconferencing.

    I also predict that more user observation testing and usability analysis will enable corporations to actually provide customers with content and fuctionalities that meet their real needs and interests.

  4. Jeremiah, thanks for running the contest and also thanks to everyone for the great responses to Jeremiah™s question.

    Congrats to the winners“I look forward to seeing you in Portland on July 17-18 (your free pass is good for not only the main program on the 17th, but also the optional symposium on the 18th called The Road to Chief Internet Strategist).

    Steve Gehlen
    Founder & Executive Director
    Internet Strategy Forum

    P: 971-223-3838

  5. Jeremiah and Steven, Thanks very much for the passes. Looking forward to the trip and extremely excited about the additional symposium entry as this is right in my wheelhouse.

    I will be certain to blog about the event at Relevantly Speaking

    Christopher Smith
    VP Digital Media Marketing – Creative Director

    Twitter @groovemonkey

  6. I think we will see it in 5 years. The future starts now, take a look at the most popular sites, this is where companies would need to go to find their audience. Great post, thanks.

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