Monday, May 5, 2008

An online economy

This article on ReadWriteWeb, The Emerging Main Street Web (which is actually Part II of a three-part series), talks about how the recessed economy could rebound through an uptick in online revenue generation. The article meanders quite a bit and lightly addresses several different areas that really would be better served with a more drawn-out analysis. The monetization of Web 2.0 is discussed. The author suggests that social networks could create buying blocs that negotiate with retailers, such as GM, to buy in bulk and thus get a discounted rate. I think, though, that this is the exact opposite of where online marketing is going. It's not about lumping individuals into a big bucket and dealing with them like marketers have in the past. No, it's about dealing with them on a more personalized and ultimately customized level than they ever have before. A new age model that makes more sense to me is if GM were to employ "social networkers" that unabashedley worked for the company but intertwined into the communities and became the go-to for car purchasing for that brand. Then, in a medium that a whole generation is becoming increasingly comfortable using, they can discuss details, exchange images and video, etc., and create a wholly customized experience and product for the individual.

To this point, large corporations have mostly missed on the personal detail needed to effectively communicate via social networks. Instead, they've put up a big brand banner and pushed out corporate branding and information with no face. They should enter the communities more gently, and portray themselves as a member of the community first (one that particpates fully in many non-commercial aspects of the community) and as a retailer second.

1 comment:

James Moore said...

Great article. Bernard Lunn articulates some very compelling arguments. If you have not read the book the Cluetrain Manifesto or Gonzo Marketing I highly suggest checking these earlier texts out.