Monday, March 26, 2012

So What Do Think Social Networks Can Offer?

Nobody today can compete with the likes of Amazon. They have the economies of both scale and scope and the market share that makes them effective category killers. We may not like it, but that is reality and trying to take them on with a price offer, isn’t going anywhere.

So how do you compete, how do you differentiate in ways that make it hard for them to compete?

You may decide to withhold your books and given that there is only one source of any work, this could look logical. However, the consumer tends to be fickle and with more books on the virtual shelf it may be easy to choose a substitution work. The question is whether you can you afford to turn your back on those sales and so cut off your nose to spite your face. We suggest that Amazon is the prime channel of choice for many consumers, so it is a case of working that to your advantage and not turning your back on it in some false delusion of power and influence.

Amazon is good at service, pricing and relating customer viewing and offering options based on buying habits. It is the online WalMart and Tesco and has resource and reserves to fight any price war. Unlike Apple and Google this is its business and one it knows very well. What it is surprisingly bad at, is social networking. It wasn’t built for social networking it was built to sell, upsell, give great service and value.

Imagine for a second that they owned Twitter or Facebook. They would then know not just what you were looking and bought but also all your interests what your friends were interested in. They could build a profile of your interests which was not just based on specific product form or offer but on all your widest interests. Does Amazon know what I saw at the cinema last night, or what concert I went to, or what programme attracted my attention or that I have a real interest in a subject that goes beyond books? Does Amazon know who my friends are and what my circles of interests are?

Imagine being able to trawling social information and link real interest to product. Now imagine being able to do that within the social ecosystem itself and without having to leave it. Now imagine creating value added offers that were only available through that same social ecosystem and at high ticket added value prices. Leave the commodity stuff where it is today and focus on the high value add tick and community lock in. This is not about exclusive works but exclusive offers. Secondary rights may lead to richer pickings when primary rights become commodity priced. In the late sixties, George Martin claimed that the album was the menu and the concert was the meal.

Many do not have the resources to even start this approach let alone execute it but maybe that much maligned word – collaboration is the key. Social networks are a lot more than building chattering communities of noise. Today many advocate social networking as the next best marketing tool but often fail to see the bigger opportunities just the eyeballs and chatter.

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