Messaging 2.0

I had the chance to do the web 2.0 overview presentation to a group of marketing professionals today consisting mostly of graphic designers and copywriters (and I also said I'd give a shout out to Ben H. who asked if I would be blogging about the presentation).

The presentation always covers the good old "massive Volkswagon" (MASSVW) that I've written about previously. A recent addition to the presentation was a discussion on the shift in the marketing messaging due to web 2.0. Specifically, it breaks down into two areas: tone and brevity.

Tone: The shift in copy tone is informal, conversational and fun. Compare the following, two email marketing companies tell the public about themselves in very different ways. The first takes the traditional approach and the second takes the new approach:

About Lyris:
Lyris Technologies, a subsidiary of J.L. Halsey Corporation, is a pioneer in the email technology industry. Since 1994, the company has been at the forefront of developing world-class email marketing software and services, while maintaining a record of strong profitability and compound annual growth.

As the choice of more than 5,000 major corporations and growing businesses Lyris' flagship product, Lyris ListManager, is one of the world's best-selling software solutions for email marketing and deliverability, while Lyris ListHosting offers the same powerful capabilities in a convenient, on-demand web-based solution.

About Emma:
In late 2001, Will Weaver and Clint Smith (known in more familiar circles as Will and Clint, or the Tall One and the Not-So-Tall One), began researching the email marketing and communications field. The two had recently started a company they named Cold Feet Creative, and their intent was to apply their sense of style and interface design to a niche market where, against other, more complicated software applications, they might stand out. Email Marketing, with its TargetBlasters and Contact2000s and MailBaboons and MailBaboonTargetBlasters, would do nicely.

So they built a prototype and called it Emma. They liked the name "Emma" because it formed a nice and handy abbreviation of the phrase email marketing and because it brought with it an inherent human quality. It's a real name - like Antoinette or Frederick, only shorter. And that was what these two gentlemen were after - a way to bring software to life, but not literally because the software might decide to begin lopping people's heads off, or running out for sandwiches at extremely inopportune times.

Brevity: With many of the web 2.0 technologies, the opportunities to be verbose are simply not available many times because the technology won't allow it. For instance, a Google Adword doesn't allow more the 25 or 35 characters on a line. Many text messages don't receive more than 160 characters and the popular micro messaging system Twitter doesn't allow more than 140 characters per message. Word counts don't apply in this new micro messaging shift, rather character counts (which includes each letter, number, space, and punctuation mark) are the new constraints on a message.

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