Thursday, February 14, 2008

If traditional marketing won't work in The Relationship Economy, what will?

Relationships, that's what!

In Generation MySpace Is Getting Fed Up, Business week reminds us that "Social networking was supposed to be the Next Big Thing on the Internet."

The article covers a variety of noteworthy points:

  • Advertising on social networking sites is growing fast. Last year global ad spending on these sites shot up 155%, to $1.2 billion, expected to jump 75% this year, to $2.1 billion.
  • The forecasts may prove unrealistic. Besides the slowing user growth and declining time spent on these sites, users appear to be growing less responsive to ads, according to several advertisers and online placement firms.
  • Google didn't generate as much revenue from social networking as expected.
  • Many people on social networking sites pay little to no attention to the ads because they're more interested in kibitzing with their friends.
  • Social networks have some of the lowest response rates on the Web, advertisers and ad placement firms say. Marketers say as few as 4 in 10,000 people who see their ads on social networking sites click on them, compared with 20 in 10,000 across the Web.
So what should we be doing to get the attention of the people formerly known as the audience? Perhaps we should treat our markets as conversations . . . perhaps we should engage our customers in dialog, getting to know them before we tell them what we have "just for them." Possibly, we should stop selling, and start listening . . .

In The Relationship Economy, the first step is the relationship. We are sick and tired of the push-marketing model, and are demanding that the pull (our pull) be implemented. The days of build it and they will come are gone. We want you to build, make, and provide stuff that we tell you we want. We'll only tell you in a conversation. The only way you will get it is if you are listening.

That's how relationships work.

Take a look at the new model, brought to you by some of the Cluetrain Manifesto authors.

The updated theses (numbering is not a mistake -- he skipped a few) as posted by Charlene Li - Josh Bernoff at Social Media Today.

1. Advertising as we know it will die.

2. Herding people into walled gardens and guessing about what makes them "social" will seem as absurd as it actually is. (Facebook is his example.)

3. We will realize that the most important producers are what we used to call consumers. (Yup.)

4. The value chain will be replaced by the value constellation. (Many connections.)

5. "What's your business model?" will no longer be asked of everything. (What's the business model for your kids?)

6. We will make money by maximizing "because effects". ("Because effects" are what happen when you make more money because of something than with it.) E.g. search and blogging.

8. We will be able to manage vendors at least as well as they manage us. (Agreements between companies and customers shouldn't be skewed in favor of the companies.) At Harvard Law they call this VRM -- vendor relationship management -- which is what Searls is working on (

10. We'll marry the live web to the value constellation. (The Live Web isn't just about stars. Relationships of anybody to anybody.)

What do you think?

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