Robert Scoble’s post on FaceBook and Google speaks to the aggregation of consumers via their intention. Such a simple post and such a simple statement. It is a statement however that will make every marketer/advertiser start frothing at the mouth like a teenager on ecstasy in a rage with an unlimited energy supply (hows that for a mental image?).
The pot of gold that I just described cannot be unstated in terms of montiary gains. You only have to look at Google, and the dollars it is generating today, to have some aspect as to what we are talking about. That said, the money being spent at Google is only a small percentage to the global budget of interuption marketing. What is interuption marketing? Wait for the next commercial, the billboard while driving, the radio station commercial, newspapers, etc., etc. It’s everywhere, products and companies that want a little piece of your attention in hopes that it will have some impact on your buying decisions down the line.
I don’t know about you, but a billboard will not alter my about buying anything. At best, it will let me know that the product/service is out there, and will have to qualify it somehow before I act on it.
Now take the FaceBook example. You have 5,000 friends, and you want to buy a new car. Your friends, by and large, are an extention of who you are. To be a friend means that you have at least some common traints, if you don’t , why do want to be assoicated with that person? You notice that most of your friends are buy Audi’s. Would you not at least inquire to your friends as to why they bought an Audi? So then you want to buy an Audi, and you join a group that is interested in buying Audi’s. Do you think Audi might be interested in this group? That spells big bucks for FaceBook.
But wait! That is an invasion of privacy! They can’t make money off of my “consumer profile” – can they? Have you ever heard of loyalty programs? Do you think these programs are to make you loyal? Nope – just another way to collect and aggregate consumer profiles. In these programs however, you exchange consumer profile information for a few trinkets of “points” to make you feel better.
But FaceBook (and or Google) could do one better – way better. They could make it so that everybody (ok not everybody, but anybody that could use a few extra bucks…). Why not allow their “membership” become engaged in a monitary model that has been tried and proven since the forties – the cooperative business model. In the cooperative business model, consumers that participate in the business recieve a return based on their activity within that business model.
An example – here in Calgary we have Co-Op grocery stores. I buy food, need to buy food for my entire life. Co-op is where I buy my food from. Why? Because the more I spend with Co-op, the more activity (money) Co-op records that I have spent with them. At year end, a portion of the profit is return to Co-Op members. The more you have participated, the larger the check is.
Aggregators (FaceBook, Google, Microsoft) could do the same thing and change the world of advertising as we know it. I don’t know about you, but I feel my consumer profile is worth something. If I, as a consumer aggregate my information (opt-in !!!!) with other consumers, we (as a group of consumers) with a stated and active intention become very valuable. Why can’t I become part of that monetary stream?
I tried to do it via a “consumer facing” loyalty program 10 years ago! Perhaps FaceBook/Google will do it today….but this I know, it will happen. When it does, it will generate more money than any other business on earth…. I think one of these players might just be interested in that….