This is a guest post by Marit Woody:
Guessing and experimenting. That is what I do for a living. Of course not without a strategic plan and I try to keep guesses qualified. But it all comes down to trial and error, with a crucial new twist to it: once guesses and theories are empirically tested, methods, tools and truths have already changed again.
I use the new opportunities for communicating that companies like Twingly, Google, Facebook, Twitter and others offer in services like Google Wave, Twingly Channels and Twingly live. What those companies do is in fact guessperimenting. They won’t wait for a product to be booringly perfect before letting people use it. Instead they put something they’ve guessperimented on out there for users to try, talk about, help develop and bring new ideas into. Things don’t come with a user manual anymore, because what use would it be when you don’t know how the users will make use of the product? It’s actually easier for a company to just put stuff out there for people to try than to wait and spend years in developing the ultimate product.
So what qualities make people and companies successful in guessperimenting? I suppose that a well executed trend analysis combined with a lot of feeling is a great way to start. A good knowledge of your trade theory to lean on, yet still beeing fearless and not tied down by old truths and traditions of the industry. And creativity of course. Didn’t I just describe a jazz musician? Guessperimenting and improvising his or her way to reach new highs.
For people working in PR, advertising and other kinds of communication, social media and the real time web has indeed meant a lot has changed. I, for instance, believe it means the end of using target audiences as one of the bases of communication. Read more (in Swedish) here . We need to guessperiment our way to make our clients reach out and we need our clients to be courageous and have faith in us while doing so. More importantly, we need to make sure the individual finds what he or she is looking for. Because what consumers do today is they seek information and form their own groups and opinions around a subject or a brand. If I’m looking to buy a new mobile phone it’s easier for a mobile phone company to find me through what I seek, than trying to pin point what type of person would be likely to want a new mobile phone. That’s why it’s completely outdated to be talking about target groups or target audiences.
Traditional media and the music industry are also guessperimenting big time right now. They should have started sooner. What will happen to services like Spotify now that artists complain about not getting paid properly and therefore withdraw their tracks? Spotify will have to guessperiment some more. And will Rupert Murdoch really find more revenue by boycotting Google? He should be adopting the guessperimenting strategy.
The times couldn’t possibly be more exciting and the opportunities are endless. Everyday something new happens and cool services on the web emerge. And the use is completely developed by the users. May the era of guessperimentaion never end!
Marit Woody work as a pr-agent at Greenhill Relations in Stockholm. She has been in the music business for several years before going into PR, and is now specialized in communication on the real time web and in social media.