“We are living in a time when technologies are converging,” said social innovator Rachel Botsman at a recent Sydney conference. “This is creating a social and economic revolution that’s transforming the way we live and work. It’s transforming not only what we consume, but how we consume.”
Botsman was speaking at Exact Target’s CONNECT Global Tour, where she outlined four major trends that she believes are going to transform the next decade of marketing.
Each represents an opportunity for brands and marketers to engage with people in new ways.
1. Crowd power
This is the ability to harness the network power of many individuals. Botsman says innovation is being democratised through platforms like crowdfunding, which involves pooling lots of donations from individuals.
This means the crowd can create more value than any one organisation. So, as a marketer, how can you bring ideas from the outside in?
2. Online to offline
This trend involves using digital tools to create face-to-face, real world interactions. It’s the combination of social (trust), local and mobile, or what’s known as ‘SoLoMo’.
Botsman used the example of service networking – using our online relationships to get things done in the real world. This can be seen with websites like Airtasker, where users post errands they need done and pay ‘runners’ to complete them.
As the line between the online and offline becomes increasingly blurred, the challenge for marketers is to leverage the idea of ‘in the moment’.
3. Social design
Social design puts people at the centre of the experience, rather than a product or content. It involves building online communities instead of marketplaces by allowing the social network to become a ‘trust network’.
4. Access over ownership
There’s an emerging trend whereby consumers no longer want to own ‘stuff’. Instead, their focus is on the needs and experiences it fulfils. This is seen in the shift from an asset-heavy lifestyle to the asset-light generation. For example, the physical ownership of music, movies, books and cars has shifted to on-demand access.
As the meaning of ownership is being transformed, we need to ask ourselves how it will transform what we value and how we express our status/identity.
In order for brands to be successful in the 21st century, Botsman believes there are three key qualities they must embrace:
- Empowerment: To empower users.
- Participation: The end of the ‘consumer’, the birth of ‘members’.
- Humanness: Brands must be empathetic and personal.
There is a huge power shift happening in the digital marketing space, from centralised control to user-generated experiences. And smart companies are working with this disruptive force rather than against it.
Nicole Stevens & Haylie Pretorius – Online Editors