A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on marketing in the semantic web (“semantic marketing”) that tackled the question of what marketing might be like in the semantic web.
I should say that now, the semantic web is probably better thought of as a “web of data” — analogous to the existing web of human-readable content, but layered with structured and linked data that software can easily process. If you haven’t yet seen Tim Berners-Lee’s TED presentation about this “next web”, it’s a great 18-minute orientation to the powerful idea of a data web.
Yet still the question remains: what will it mean for marketing?
In my opinion, this web of data has the potential to enable an entirely new kind of marketing — what I previously called semantic marketing, but I now think is clearer to think of as data web marketing.
Data web marketing is about growing customer relationships, increasing the visibility of your firm, and building brand equity through the production and delivery of data. There are some parallels to search engine optimization (SEO) and mash-up APIs as they’re known today — but by being structured, linked, and delivered in a standardized format, data web marketing goes even further.
The data that companies can provide in this new channel can be harnessed in software applications by their customers, their partners, their own vendors, and related interest groups around the world to do business in more efficient and collaborative ways.
Of course, this is a nascent concept. There are few people producing linked data on the web today, and few people that know how to consume it. But remember, in 1994, hardly anyone knew how to build a web site, yet within 5 years, the entire world changed. The web of data has the potential to be as big of a revolution. Given how our world is so rich in untapped reservoirs of data — more and more every day — this data web explosion to make data far more useful seems inevitable.
And, just as marketing took the lead in commercializing the web, I believe the same will happen with the data web.
Next month, I’ll be giving a presentation on “Marketing in the Semantic Web” at the 2009 Semantic Technology Conference to address this subject. Here’s a sneak preview of the slide deck — the heart of which is a proposal for 7 missions for data web marketing:
I’d love your thoughts and feedback.