Networked social groups and marketplaces are merging. Will market networks keep evolving into closer connections between consumers and brands? And will advertising and marketing keep up with these changes? In this guest post, theright.fit creative director, Peter Bidenko, explores these issues.
As the creative director of market network, theright.fit, I recently asked some of the people at the forefront of digital change what they’re doing, how it’s working and what the future holds
Bonnie Borland is the founder of The One Social, a marketing agency that saw the need to change from the traditional model.
“Brands can now cultivate a community of loyal fans, customers, and consumers who are more accessible than ever, thanks to these new platforms, tools, and social media,” Borland said.
“This creates the potential for more direct conversations to take place between brands and their audience.”
B.B.E is a technology driven VC company, and strategist, Henry Innis believes the mass market is dead and that we’re seeing traditional brand equity replaced by online platforms delivering the same trust between consumer and provider.
Innis argued, “The networked economy is eating away the concept of mass market products and services. Consumption and production of goods will become more personalised and peer to peer, along with technology platforms, will fuel that interaction going forward”.
Nick Bell owns WME, a Melbourne based, global digital agency. Rather than merely one-off transactions, a market network provides a long-term solution to people’s specific problems.
He gives an example: “A market network for the events industry operates in a network-type pattern whereby a single event planner can reach out to his or her network of florists, caterers, and photographers to facilitate the planning of an event.
“Efficiency is everything, and a service that can satisfy this while still maintaining attention to detail is highly favoured. Likewise, market networks favour the service professional. By turning a professional network into a useable and commercially valuable resource, the market network can help to facilitate long-term working relationships.”
Change is happening across all industries, including the building industry. Luke Berry from the Thirdi Group added that he made the decision to walk away from traditional media such as print to “invest in [their] own marketplaces and leverage off [their] clients and suppliers social foot print to achieve the same ‘lucrative reach’ as the newspaper.
“A big part of my budget would be allocated to advertise in one of Sydney’s leading weekend newspapers. It would have a circulation of say 350,000 people it would cost me $15-$20k every time.
“We worked out that if we engaged with 500 past and future clients (assuming each has the international standard average of 350 friends on Facebook) and secure the support of 150 suppliers (assuming each has 1000 followers on social media), we could secure the same circulation as the newspaper, however do it at a fraction of the cost and have full control over our content and how it’s delivered.”
Nick Murdoch from Sydney-based Yango Media takes a firm and pragmatic approach.
“There would seem little doubt these opportunities will continue as long as the new marketplaces are solving real problems for their customers,” he said.
“I only see the opportunity multiplying as digital natives (consumers that have only ever known a connected world) grow up, their spending power increases and digitally connected businesses continue to disrupt traditional business models.
“Many of the people who buy our products and interact with our brands have never known any other world.”
Another at the coalface of disruption is Peter O’Leary from the AMBA Agency, who said, “Curation is the new currency – now in high-demand – as we all want someone to sort through the mess and tell us just what we need to know.
“At the top line we’ll glance across the best three to five – and then look more closely at a maximum of three. If the first option is good, the search stops. 75 per cent of buying decisions online are made inside 18 seconds.
“It’s one click to buy – every time. In this crazy cluttered world, what do we want? Shortcuts. Nothing new here. Just human nature.”
And that, it seams, is precisely where we’re headed. Speed and ease. Trust and connections.
Market networks give us places to find what we need, with other like-minded people already having done our homework for us. The trust that previously brands built through mass media is now switching to the market network.
The need for speed is fueled by both sides of the funnel. By digitally transforming their businesses and how they interact with their consumer, marketers are making the process more efficient, more desirable and lightening fast.
But with greater speed comes ever-increasing expectation from the consumer. If it’s not fulfilled, well they just go elsewhere. And that somewhere else is a market network which they’ll become part of to fulfill the two essential criteria they have. Trust and speed.