Giveaway: Tickets to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit

I’m rewarding two readers with a complimentary VIP pass to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit conference on July 17th at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.

If you’re passionate about making your corporate website the best it can be, and want to connect with others who are leading the charge at their companies, then you’ve already marked a place on your Calendar for the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in July 17th in Portland.

Speakers include

• Geoffrey Ramsey, Co-founder & CEO, eMarketer
• Charlene Li, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research (I can’t wait to meet her someday!)
• Chris Shimojima, VP, Global Digital Commerce, Nike
• David Placier, VP, Consumer Insights, Disney Online
• Nancy Bhagat, VP of Sales and Marketing Group, Intel
• Daniel Stickel, new CEO, WebTrends (formerly with Google)
• Shane O’Neill, Chief Technology Officer, Fandango
• Mike Moran, Distinguished Engineer, IBM, author (highest-rated speaker at 2007 Summit)

I attended last year, and was impressed to see all the corporate web leaders (web strategists) attending. Steve Gehlen for the Internet Strategy Forum, who founded ISF, has done a great service to our industry, in fact, he and I worked together to form the Silicon Valley chapter a few years ago.

We both realize that many of the readers of this Web Strategy Blog would love to attend the ISF conference, so we’re giving away two free tickets.

Last time, I gave away tickets for Graphing Social Patterns (John Bell, a winner rated it 4/5 stars) by running a contest, it worked pretty well, and I’d like to do this again./ The winners will be announced in new blog post and this post will be updated (so bookmark it).

I will be selected two winners who answer the following question:

1) Question: What is the future of Corporate Websites in 5 years?
I’ll be looking for out-of-the-box thinking, plausibility, and ability to logically connect the dots why and how your 5 year prediction will happen.

2) Write it clearly and succinctly, points assigned for brevity.
Effective strategists are excellent communicators.

3) What percentage will you attend the conference?
I want to give these tickets to someone who’ll really use it, I encourage you to answer this even if you don’t plan to attend, have fun with it!

Thanks for reading, I’m grateful to get enough traction now to reward readers with conference tickets, books, and the ability to network. Have fun with this, and strut your stuff strategists!

Update June 28: I’d like to thank Christopher Smith and Kristie Conner for their excellent responses (scroll down) to their vision of the future of the corporate website. While everyone provided excellent answers, I enjoyed hearing the focus on people from Chris (sites become social) and Kristie’s notion on ‘fluity’ of the future of the corporate website –it’ll spread both off domain and aggregate social content. Thanks all for playing.

  • Well I think there will of course be tiers of corporate websites ranging from the progressives to the dinosaurs. Those who are most advanced will become effectively designed aggregators of user reviews, tagged content and discussions from all over the web in order to refer visitors to user-generated information.

    They will still likely have much of the corporate content they have now, but it will become less prominent and offered as a secondary resource. Except, of course for the dinosaurs who may still have a hard-coded HTML website originally constructed back in 1998…because some people honestly still believe that this ‘internet thing’ doesn’t effect their brick and mortar establishments.

    (oh, and I’m about 75-80% sure I could make it out to Portland next month)

  • Great question, Jeremiah.

    The architecture of corporate Websites will remain largely the same, but they’ll integrate social media tools more thoroughly. I don’t think we’ll see social networks on-site , per se, so much as links to the corporate presence on existing networks. The corporate site becomes the hub, with spokes to the company’s Facebook space, Twittering spokespeople. One exception is blogs, which will continue to grow and become more incorporate into the primary Website.

    I’ll sum it up in one word: convergence. Just as my phone, PC and TV are blurring into one, Websites, blogs, social networks, microblogging, and traditional communication tools will blur and blend into a seamlessly integrated and singular Web identity.

  • Sorry, forgot to mention…I’m 95% likely to attend Portland!

  • 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.

  • Jacqueline Smith

    Hopefully, there will be a few missing items among the many improvements. I think we are headed for a huge shift as we cope with changing economics, gas prices, and cost cutting. The corporation sites that were created only because their “competitors had one” will be gone or reformed. Social Networking will give sites a new focus, that will welcome comparison, ratings, questions, responsiveness between customers, technicians and corporate experts / answer givers. Sites will include ways to learn about the corporation from clear information about services offered, benefits, and improvements. The “marketing-speak Mission statements” will be gone. Who ever understood that mumbo jumbo anyway? Corporate sites will no longer look like they were converted from printed brochures and searching a site will be quick and results oriented. Less words, more meaning!

    Corporations will have learned that virtual employees work with corporate goals not undermine them. Internal corporate sites will stop being neglected and will become a destination for employees and team members to Do Great Work, innovate, get connected, learn more, flex their volunteer spirit, recognize good deeds, share best practices, upgrade skills and encourage collaborate with other virtual team members and teams. Employees will avoid isolation by connecting and will enjoy more meaningful, better supported virtual work than every before. And while we are fixing the sites with better content, navigation and social awareness, we will finally pay attention to bumping up the requirements for publishing, archiving, presenting knowledge and responsible writing. Less is more, but for quality…. More is More.

    I’d love to go to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in Portland, I’ve never gone, it would be amazing. [97% certain to go!]

  • Smart companies will use open source social networking tools to customize the online experience for customers/potential customers/employees/suppliers, etc. The point at which you leave the corporate website and end up in a next-gen Facebook experience, or comparing notes in a third-party recommendation engine will become less obvious and less important.

    Companies that extend their brands across the internets will have feelers and teasers drawing usage information (with permission) and/or traffic back to the corporate fold.

    Car companies will create skins for apps that you use regularly, emulating the dashboard or grille or alternative travel method of choice. The “web site” will still be there, but the need for people to detour to visit it will be less important to relationship management than in the past.

    Paradise? No. But ever so much more focused on the desires of individual consumers.

    (85% certainty of getting to Portland.)

  • Corporate websites will incorporate social media best practices in order to create a 2 way dialogue with the constituencies they serve – employees, customers, suppliers, partners, alumni, contractors, consultants, service providers. They will support messaging, forums, feedback, polling, recommendations, tagging, collaboration and other best practices to enable constituencies to offer increasingly real time responses to corporations whose cycle times are decreasing. The corporate website will evolve to a set of interactive messaging, communication & collaboration services that enable these varied constituencies to interact with their counterparts within the corporation on a real time, meaningful basis. In effect, the website will become THE way the corporation manages its constituencies.

  • 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 enginges 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.

    I live in Oregon and would love to attend!

  • Ian

    Five years from now I see a significant shift in how visitors will interact with corporate websites and vice versa. This will be based in large part on how people manage their web identities. I think that everyone will have an individual social profile that you can effectively dock in various sites, whether they are pure networking sites, retail sites, etc.

    Each profile will have passport, something akin to a universal cookie, feeding sites however much psychographic/demographic data the user is willing to share. The corporate site will then remix its content, messaging, offerings based on your profile. Every visitor will get a smart guide to talk them through the site and their experience and the guide will get smarter based on further interactions (Think Rovion on steroids). These interactions will just be the next step in how behavioral marketing and permission based marketing merge with social media.

    Each corporate site will host its own community tools based around how the audience and community members interact with their products and one another. The community tools will also take the place of the standard corporate job listings and will be used to establish relationships with potential employees, to strengthen connections with corporate alumni and to build community amongst employees.
    (unable to make Portland)

  • In the next five years I expect more Web sites to adopt ‘fan clubs’ into their design. It will be a way for companies to interact with their connectors, or most enthusiastic supporters. Through perks via the club companies will be creating dynamic spokespeople. I think fan forums (available only to fan club members) will offer people a place to sound off and discuss new products or corporate news. It may also be an avenue for effective press release distribution – straight to the people that actually care. If someone trash talks the company, I expect loyalists will come to their defense. It will be a place for the company to talk about things on their terms, and it will bring meaning back to press releases.

    The new fan clubs would also offer consumers a chance to socially network with one another. I don’t think every company needs to have their own social networking gig because I think people are already feeling oversaturated with options. Why not create a fan club Myspace or Facebook site that is easily linked to the Web site’s fan club page?

    I would like to take my musical talents and write fight songs for companies I believe in. It would be a modern take on the jingle and fans of the products could place that song on their myspace profile. A You Tube video featuring the song and an entertaining plot could spread virally.

    While I don’t feel I just outlined the model for everyone to follow, I do feel that people need to start getting creative and I think smaller companies need to use existing infrastructure to their benefit. Web sites must be more visually stimulating and less wordy.

    I’m living in Portland and work a couple blocks from the Governor. I would clear my schedule for this event!

  • Ig

    1. Corporate Websites will range from natural to unnatural extensions of products/services, continuing the corporate reality of never-ending balancing acts between the idiosyncrasies of internal stakeholders and those of internal and external customers. The Good will foster sticky, viral, brand-loyal communities in which customers will enthusiastically wear fun hats of advisers, marketeers, community organizers, PR people, sales people and repairmen. The Bad will be as much of a brochureware as they’ve always been. And The Ugly will be the not-working attempts at The Good, in which the formally existing viral and social networking mechanisms will be immobilized by rigid rules, fear of risk-taking and mistrust towards customers.

    2. Stretegy-wise, The Good would have to include most of the following:
    – be logically connected to products/services
    – extending user experiences with products/services
    – be OPEN (in Web 2.0 sense) vs. being a silo
    – create different (if possible, numerous) ways/mechanisms and reasons for customers to communicate with each other
    – offer devices and reasons for group creation and harness the power of groups
    – empower and (subtly and stylishly) award early adopters and fanatical activists
    – make sure that at least some top executives get involved, lest the whole operation (with its unavoidable nuisances will soon become an unwanted orphan in the Boardroom)
    – productize customers’ appreciation (help them create and co-create tangible and intangible tokens of love: widgets, videos, T-shirts, posters, etc.)

    3. Since I will be in SF in July, Portland is just a quick flight away – so, certainly more than 50%, maybe even much more 🙂

    borrowing

  • I’m going to cap all the responses here, thanks for all the submissions

    While you’re welcome to comment, anyone below this comment will not be eligible. Now, time to read these great responses!

  • 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”).

    SG
    __________________________________
    Steve Gehlen
    Founder & Executive Director
    Internet Strategy Forum

    W: http://www.internetstrategyforum.org
    E: steve.gehlen@internetstrategyforum.org
    P: 971-223-3838

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