Social technologies “may become the most powerful tools yet developed to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers — the kind of workers who help drive innovation and growth, and who are going to be in increasingly short supply.
This is one of the surprising takeaways from our recent research on the economic impact of social technologies. The business world knows (or thinks it knows) a lot about how social technologies are changing the world. With consumers spending gobs of time in online communities (more than 1.5 billion consumers around the globe have an account on a social networking site and almost one in five online hours is spent on social networks), marketing departments have increasingly shifted their attention to social media. They’re not only advertising and creating their own social sites, they’re engaging with consumers, listening in on unfiltered conversations, and soaking up huge amounts of data on consumer behavior — all of which is producing nifty new insights for fine-tuning product requirements and marketing messages.
It’s powerful stuff that will continue to evolve and change the way that companies market to consumers and B2B customers. But, it turns out that there’s something even more powerful at play: the potential for value creation when social technologies are used to improve collaboration and communication within and across enterprises is twice as big as the value that can be created through all other uses across the value chain.
The spreading of a trend or behavior in a social network is a very active area of research. One very important model of trend spreading is the “tipping” model. With tipping, an individual in a network adopts a trend if at least half (or some other proportion) of his or her friends have previously done so. An important problem in viral marketing is to find a “seed set” of individuals in the social network. If all members of a “seed set” in a social network initially adopt a certain trend, then a cascade initiates through the tipping model which results in the entire population adopting that trend. So, if a viral marketer wants to provide free samples of a product to certain individuals, a seed set is likely a good place to start.
The amazing thing here is that business keeps trying to improve advertising — and always by making it more personal — as if that’s the only way we can get to Michael’s “sweeping, basic, transformative, and simple way to connect buyer to seller and then get out of the way.” Three problems here:
- By its nature advertising — especially “brand” advertising — is not personal.
- Making advertising personal changes it into something else that is often less welcome.
- There are better ways to get to achieve Michael’s objective — ways that start on the buyer’s side, rather than the seller’s.
…In The Cluetrain Manifesto, which Chris Locke, David Weinberger, Rick Levine and I wrote in 1999, we laid into business — and marketing in particular — for failing to grok the fact that in networked markets, which the Internet gave us, individuals should lead, rather than just follow. So, since business failed to get Cluetrain’s message, I started ProjectVRM in mid-2006 at Harvard’s Berkman Center. The idea was to foster development of tools that make customers both independent of vendors, and better able to engage with vendors. That is, for demand to drive supply, personally. (VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management.)
Imagine being able to:
- name your own terms of service
- define for yourself what loyalty is, what stores you are loyal to, and how
- be able to gather and examine your own data
- advertise (or “intentcast”) your own needs in an anonymous and secure way
- manage your own relationships with all the vendors and other organizations you deal with
- … and to do all that either on your own or with the help of fourth parties that work for you rather than for sellers (as most third parties do)
There’s a growing sense of the self among the Chinese and an increasing emphasis on self-expression, which is causing at least one major change: The importance of emotional considerations in purchase decisions is shooting up. The need for emotional benefits in categories such as chocolates and mobile handsets rose, according to our survey, from 1% in 2009 to 19% in 2011 — a number that seems likely to keep rising.
Marketers will have to cater to Chinese consumers’ desire to express their individuality by developing brands that “talk” directly to them. That will apply not only to high-involvement products such as cars and mobile phones, but also to commodities such as milk and salt. Even in a low-involvement product category like detergents, 7% of Chinese consumers — up from 2% in 2009 — say that the best products should not only clean clothes, but also make them feel special.
As the Chinese become more knowledgeable about products and more affluent, and safety standards become tighter and better enforced, they’ll feel safer trying out lesser-known brands. That’ll make them more receptive to niche brands that talk to them as “individuals” as a way of setting themselves apart.
Topics I can speak about at BarCamp Boston —
BarCamp is Boston’s geek unconference, organized on the fly by attendees, for attendees.
The event is free and open to anyone, but you don’t just attend a BarCamp — you can host or participate in discussions, demo your projects, and meet other techie, geeky people like you.
BarCamp Boston topics include: technology, marketing, food-science, startups, sci-fi, development, social media, gadgets, communities, design, hardware hacking, UI design, entrepreneurship, AJAX, open source software, robotics, art, mobile computing, bioinformatics, RSS, social software, programming languages, the future of technology, and much, much more!
I’ve considered: Job Searching in a Web 2.0 World
- RT @nathanvickers: I am having a great day and this is still awesome. twitter.com/BabyAnimalPics… cc @ayhiggs @bekiweki @Jenny_Newman 1 year ago
- RT @starfishncoffee: Not helpful if you just avoid rejection altogether by not bothering to try. psychcentral.com/blog/archives/… 1 year ago
- Is there a way to anchor the snipping tool to my task tray??? @ohdeargodwhy #HelpDesk 1 year ago
- @spaceappsnextgen Are non-high school students welcome to observe Space Apps Next Gen NYC? 1 year ago
- RT @arrenbas: Caffeinated pacifiers. #BadSharkTankPitches @midnight 1 year ago
- RT @trendtopicsusa: Omaha 1 #SHESKINDAHOTMUSICVIDEO 2 Drake 3 #TOU15 4 #Nebraska 5 #StoryOfMyLifeIn4Words 6 #BachelorInParadise 1 year ago
- RT @trendtopicsusa: Phoenix 1 #BadSharkTankPitches 2 Rihanna 3 #OVOFest 4 #SYTYCD 5 #SHESKINDAHOTMUSICVIDEO 7 Hayden 8 Waymo 1 year ago
- RT @KristinMCoppens: A1: A brand only becomes social when they engage and build relationships on social media. Just having accounts isn't... 1 year ago