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  • Can Facebook Disrupt?

    Big changes are afoot for Facebook – bigger yet than those that had the social community howling last week. Will its members “freak” with a total redesign of the site and your experience underway, the answer is yup. Big time.

    Big changes are afoot for Facebook – bigger yet than those that had the social community howling last week. Will its members “freak” as CNN.com put it in a recent article? With a total redesign of the site and your experience underway, the answer is yup. Big time.

    Meanwhile, the dust is still settling on last week’s “Netflix raises prices and splits its business in two” disaster. Despite differences between the two players, the situation poses lessons to Facebook and others that disrupt the user experience in the name of improvement. Netflix will become a classic case of how to stumble – badly – by ignoring the role a strategic marketing focus should play in shaping critical business decisions. Facebook’s fate will soon unfold.

    Strategic marketing goes beyond the “marcom” orientation that typifies too many organizations. It’s multi-dimensional, factoring in the brand and its power, grounded in a strong sense of P&L implications, and, above all, ensures the customer experience is the lens through which decisions are viewed.

    Consider some principles (in no particular order) for smart, customer-driven marketing (and business practices) that Netflix, Facebook, and many others would be wise to heed:

    Relevance trumps. Netflix established its relevance as the anti-Blockbuster – devising an interesting way (low cost, no late charges, easy accessibility) to deliver DVDs, no muss, no fuss. When digital advances made video streaming the next new thing – simpler, cheaper and even more convenient yet – others entered the fray with growing credibility, flexibility, currency and visibility. Netflix’s missteps on bundled services and pricing made it more irrelevant yet. For Facebook, this will be less of an issue. It’s long since rendered other communities in the “mass” space pretty irrelevant.

    The “Easy” Button. There’s a reason why Staples’ “that was easy” campaign resonated so hugely with the public. Life is complicated. We’re bombarded with more choices through more channels than ever before. Physically separating Netflix into two, with separate access points and passwords, unduly complicates what’s really a fairly simple transaction and delivery platform. It will also likely discourage customers from choosing Netflix as a single source for both DVD rentals and video streams – if, that is, they can get over their ire at the price increases. For Facebook, a prospective major revamp of its timeline is likely going to put the onus on users to more closely manage what and how they share, further complicating what was a fairly simple relationship.

    Read Full Article in Forbes.com

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals
    calvin.wilson1@verizon.net
    http://twitter.com/Upstart__Nation

    Filed Under: Tech/E-Commerce

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    About the Author: Management and Business for Emerging Leaders

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