Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: marketing

Social Value is Social Enterprise

The fastest way to unleash the extraordinary value that is contained in communities of experienced, talented, and motivated people is to provide a substrate for them to trade their knowledge assets among each other.  When people get together around a purpose, they build things that create incredible social value. The Social Value Platform provides an electronic accounting system for social value.  In The Social Value Game, vendors deposit inventory into a strategic community of people and the community creates social value.  This new social value is then converted into monetary revenue in the next economic paradigm called Social Capitalism.


The Capitalization of Silence

"Silence" by Horst Schmier

Coupon Madness

The business concept of rewards coupons is not new. S&H Green Stamps were among the original applications of the concepts. The fact that coupon cutting is now going on-line is not surprising to anyone. A second major trend is in the area of data collection. Supermarkets have learned that it is valuable for them to “pay” the customer in exchange for data that makes stocking and distribution more efficient. When combined, coupon + data is a tremendously valuable marketing and logistics tool.

The next development of coupon + data model is the notion that if a person likes a product, so too will their friends. This is the coupon + data + association model. Not surprisingly, the marketing value of the combination of these linked data increases almost exponentially.

To Pay Dearly

Brands are now willing to pay dearly for information about the transaction as well as the social networks associated with a transaction. With the ability to track several layers of transaction and association, vendors can paint an extraordinarily accurate predictive model that can be used in their favor – and in competition against market challengers.

The half-life of noise

The hype is brisk and often short lived as most companies eventually run up against the proverbial viral backlash. Someone somewhere can just as easily elevate their own influence by challenging a big influencer. Privacy issues, fair trade issues, corporate responsibility issues are all fair game. Social media forces transparency in an organization too as controlled data can quickly become uncontrollable data.

The battlefield is strewn with the corpses of marketing campaigns gone horribly wrong. Even Groupon, once touted as the champion of mom and pop shops across the land is now accused of dumping economic “sugar calories” into a zero sum game where size does matter – a lot. Groupon is now used by competitors against each other thereby wrecking havoc on Mom and Pop Shops across the land.

Help, I need a Guru

Social Media Gurus continuously pound home the message that they must find their customers grazing in their own pasture and engage them in order to be truly accepted into the herd.  Now the Gurus have all the vendors looking like wolves in sheep’s clothing – nothing could be more obvious or look more ridiculous.

The inherent flaw is that companies are designing and delivering products predicted to interact with people in their own setting. Instead, they must develop a set of products and services that are designed to facilitate human interaction with each other in their own setting – and as a consequence, filter out all the noise that wastes valuable social time.

Coupon + knowledge inventory + anonymity

Learning what people know does not mean that they need to give up their identity.   Joining people who have complimentary knowledge is a superior value creation mechanism than harvesting relationships already played out. The ability to protect and empower the customer in their home setting is the greatest branding opportunity on Earth. The ability to filter out the noise is the single greatest competitive advantage that any marketing campaign can ever enjoy. The ability to bring communities of people together to solve the problems of their own choosing is far more powerful than trying to convince people that they have a problem for which only you have the solution.

This is the capitalization of silence

Image by Horst Schmier

Is it Social Media or Corporate Media?

corporate news

Visionaries Ho!

There are no shortage of intelligent and visionary social media celebrities.  They write great books about markets, social media tools, strategies, and on-line reputation for the benefit of the millions of people stuck on any part of the slippery social media learning curve.  They are infinitely generous with their knowledge and share it freely at countless conferences, blog posts, and syndicated articles.

There is, however, one thing that most of these Guru’s have in common – they consult to and are paid by large corporations. I could be considered part of this crowd for whatever my influence is worth.  So the question about causation is due – will social media develop as a function of corporate interaction with it?

If so, then it is not social media – it is corporate media.

This is no surprise, nor should there be any apparent concern, after all, everyone has to make a living and it is better that the corporations pay people to create content that benefits me.   The practice is conducted quite ethically too -most readily disclose where their financial support comes from and we all benefit from free information that helps us keep the playing field as level as it can be.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about eye-balls and bullhorns.  In order to produce eyeballs and bullhorns, people must be sitting at a computer or, at least, staring at a handset.  The longer you can keep people interacting with the brand instead of interacting with each other, the better off everyone is, right?

Social Media Consumer Advocate

A consumer advocate is someone who helps look after the best interest of the consumer for product safety and false advertising.  Social media is pushing the envelope of the corporate interaction with consumers.  “Advertising” no longer lends itself to the objective review of a billboard, commercial, or public statement.  Social Media Marketing is increasingly sophisticated and manipulative.  The vulnerable people; children and elders are no less vulnerable on social media, and may be more.

Social anomalies?

Some of the emerging research related to social media is surprising with increased instances of what can be considered social anomalies:

Infantilism; adults doing childish things like playing silly games in ‘public’
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; constantly checking for updates and new photos,
Depression and loneliness; preference of social media over real live interaction
Narcissism; The excessive love or admiration of one’s image of their self.

Is it social because it is media or is it media because it is social?

We need to ask ourselves what is the difference between computer enabled reality and computer simulated reality.   If we lose “causation” the entire body of analysis can be called into the question: is social media or is it corporate media?

Conversational Perjury

As brands get social, they enter the new media performing their best interpretation of a conversation. Face it, they are still going for the kill – like a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the dance of the pitch is just getting more sophisticated. Social media is powerful followed closely by the of abuse .

The danger is that the more it resembles buddy talk, the more likely it will be mistaken for buddy talk. The sales pitch is being elevated to an art form. Now social media can be as much as a social cure as a social anomaly.

The 4 Big Lies of Marketing:

The integration lie; Ingratiation efforts are manipulative and calculating but serve as a very subtle way of obtaining increased power over another person. Appearing to be similar to the target the ingratiator appraises the target person’s attitudes, opinions, and interests and modifies his/her statements to match the perceived beliefs of the other conforming to the target’s wishes.

Major Brand: The key principles underlying [company] decisions and actions in social media are: Listening, Learning and Engaging in conversations with our customers where they are…while hiding where we are.

The foot-in the door lie: To increase the likelihood of a prospect saying yes to a moderate request, a person may ask for a smaller request first. By saying yes to the first, small request, the person may agree to the second request to maintain consistency with self perception.

Major brand: we recently launched an on-line quiz with a widget component exclusively through social media and it has been a great success just in terms of the number of people taking the quiz and then word of mouth as a result. This goes back to us showing people can engage with [company name] not yet buying the product.

The ‘Istanbul bazaar’ Lie: The initial request is very large – large enough that no one could be expected to comply with it. It is then followed by a smaller, more reasonable request. This technique relies on the norm of reciprocity. The norm of reciprocity states if a person does something for you, you should do something in return for that person.

From a famous social media marketing evangelist: Extrapolate the potential points of touch between your customers and your organization, by showing them what full engagement looks like but then asking for a smaller subscription, enables participation in some of your processes, in some way.

Even a penny will help Lie: This technique is based on the tendency for people to want to make themselves “look good.” Since everyone has a penny, one would look foolish to say no to the request. The target cannot simply give a penny without looking foolish. The target tends to give whatever is appropriate for the situation.

From a Social Media Marketing Guru: FB Friending, Twitter, and even Linkedin are brilliant in delivering mutual follow mentality to marketing – people want to feel good for having followers and will often put up with constant, yet fleeting marketing messages. Tweet meme is another way for people to feel good about thier self for a tiny investment of a single click.

Inherent in all 4 techniques is the attempt by an influencer to manipulate another by engaging in subtle subterfuge. The only way to undo the lie is with a simple truth: knowledge and understanding that the influencer is always lying.

Fallout: FTC and Blogger Payola

 

The FTC recently issued guidelines for payola to bloggers.  The impact and opinions are now emerging over what this means for social media. As with any game played on a new field, rules need to apply.  The questions emerge regarding who the rules hurt, who they help, and how the game will develop in the future due to those rules.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers.

Extrapolate into the future:

Bretton Woods II – For the Biosphere

In continuation of our series on New Economic Paradigm, the famed environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki points the an outdated financial system where the biosphere is treated as an externality to economic growth.

“When economists and politicians met in Bretton Woods, Maine, in 1944, they faced a world where war had devastated countrysides, cities, and economies. So they tried to devise solutions. They pegged currency to the American greenback and looked to the (terrible) twins, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to get economies going again.”

Whereas Bretton Woods (1) was tasked with rebuilding a war torn world, a new Financial Doctrine is needed to rebuild a war torn Biosphere. Economics as a discipline is based on the fundamental effects of selfishness and Bretton Woods demonstrated that we could in fact define “self” in terms of including the preservation of others. Now the task is to define “self” as including the Biosphere for which a new economic accord could certainly accommodate.

After all, the biosphere in an economic component. Like humans, it is selfish and will easily progress to a new “economic” state in response to economic inputs. In other words, don’t worry about destroying the World, it will take care of itself with or without humans.

Dr. Suzuki identifies two flaws in the current economic paradigm:

The Social Media Paradox

Starbucks paradox (Bernie Hou)The very nature of the traditional corporation is called to question by the Social Media Paradox:

Definition (by me):

Social Media Paradox: The degree to which the act of engaging in the social media paradigm reduces one’s ability to engage in the pre-social media paradigm; and vice versa.

Success in social media requires humility, authenticity and commitment to the medium.  Like a tattoo, that impression defines the person and is not easily removed – after all, everyone’s got to have some skin in the game.

Social media rewards people for doing what they are best at and saying what they feel to be most true. Furthermore, brands need to trust their employees to represent them – this means that they need to give up control of the message.  The more they try to control the message, the less effective they are in a social medium.

Sounds like a great idea, but is it practical?

Many people still need to work for a living often find ourselves at the mercy of corporations for an actual paycheck.  Social Media provides a free source of reference material on a new candidate.  If a person is seen as edgy, ‘counter culture’, or defiant by any number of risk averse HR gatekeepers, one’s “old-paradigm” employability can be affected.  The subtle irony that the those who best understand the medium can make themselves unemployable as a result.

The opposite is also true:

USocial = SUPER SPAM

moneyhappiness_vl-vertical-223x300USocial is now going after YouTube. These clever guy and gals have figured out a way to bypass the democracy of social media to bring is a new form of merchant class capitalism…SUPER SPAM.  For a small fee, you can get your message to the head of the line – in effect pushing the rest backwards.  Presumably for a bigger fee, you can get ahead of those who paid a smaller fee, and so forth.

Once the bastion of lobbyists and special interest groups, anyone with a few bucks can now pull themselves up the ladder by pushing other people down the ladder.  Once the domain of high powered PR firms and Marketing agents; just a few dollars cast among the USocial Gods delivers those long elusive eyeballs of the old radio/TV marketing paradigm.

Watch this one carefully kids.  Social Media has long proven uncontainable.  Saying that you can beat  social media at its own game is like saying you can repair a credit score.  Like a credit score, you can do more damage than good trying to steal what does not belong to you in an effort to boost your income.

Those eyeballs, those followers, and those “friends” do not belong to USocial and are therefore not theirs to sell.    They belong to you and I and we control them – or we don’t play.  If USocial keeps their client list secret, this would be the capital offense in social media space.

The Weakest Link; Advertising

ChainAs an Engineer, my respect for the Advertising/Marketing/PR, as an industry, is diminishing daily.  I see what is gorged behind the curtain and I see what is reguritated in front to the curtain.  The degree of hypocrisy defies social responsibility.

While many Marketing and PR professionals have a deep commitment to social values and the empowerment of people and their communities, many also see society as a big fat consumption machines whose collective minds can be mapped and channeled into “basic-needs” reactions designed to ultimately meet Wall Street priorities over social priorities.

Meet your maker

It is also not surprising that the advertising industry is also on the front line of social media where savvy gamers call themselves strategists, gurus, and experts over the very game that they cannot control.  They are quick to define “Social Media Innovation” as new ways to penetrate the hearts, minds, and eyeballs of people and their paychecks.

Counting Eyeballs

The Advertising Industry has some serious problems. Ad agencies are having a difficult time understanding the modern advertising space with the limited, if not worthless, paradigm carried over from the days of radio; the CPM.

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille

CPM means: how much does it cost to penetrate 1000 heads?… or 2000 eyeballs, I suppose. They count the penetrated heads, like an act of war – the body count, the bullet shells, the napalm canisters…and that is the basis of their decisions. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

The CPM is however, a great way to kill off creativity, highlighting the flashy crap while burying the good stuff. Maybe it works well in the counter insurgency of Afghanistan, but it does not work in social media space. What happens after the mommy blogger gets a look at that Spiderman drinking cup that melts in the dishwasher?  Imagine the blog post about that cool new GM retro rod that smells like formaldehyde to the undertaker enduring their midlife crisis.

What’s the CPM for the blogger?: zero.  Can advertisers compete?: no.  Should they stop?: yes.

People are not stupid and they do not work for free. Yet, the entire web advertising model tries to get them to walk through a rat maze of links and pages just to hit more banner ads (impressions).  Advertisers keep doing it, ad after ad, page after page, year after year.  They wonder why the rat don’t hunt.  The most important thing to a rat is food, family, and friends.  There must be a tangible economic incentive for people to do what you want them to do.  Even after that, not all impressions are equal, or favorable, or lead to sales – but every one is valuable to your product and your brand if you know who I am.

Foresight is 20/20

It is always very expensive to change people’s behavior and the best management policy is to accommodate what people are going to do anyway.  If  I want to drive a retro rod, help me do enjoy my friends with it – don’t pull the emergency brake.  If I want to spend time with my family, don’t interrupt me.  If I want to walk in the park, don’t whack me on the head with a billboard.  That’s not a great way to start a conversation.

Open letter to Pitchmeisters

Dear CPM mongers, I have learned to ignore you. Like the paint blots on a Monet, I have learned to see the image despite your distortions.  Your “fear” pitch is comical to me.  The buy-me-love pitch is goofy.  The lifestyle-threat angle sounds as ridiculous as an old like Archie Bunker re-run.  The most fun I can have is using my ability to walk away leaving you talking to yourself like a deranged chimpanzee at the zoo.

Measure what I measure

Help me do what I’m going to do anyway even if I still ignore you – all data is data.  If you want to understand me, measure what I measure; health, happiness, productivity, laughter, family, friends, hope, vision, safety, music art, quality of life.  Help me make friends, empower my community, and care for my family. Don’t try to take these away from me – you will lose.

Coupon Search Engine – Are You Worthy?

 

Are you worthy ?

What if many companies dropped their advertising spend into a several different buckets of cash representing various lifestyle segments?  Now, suppose that the cash was distributed  to social media mavens corresponding to their social media reach in the lifestyle segments.  The advertisers and the amounts contributed to the buckets are fully disclosed.  The Social Media mavens are compensated by their Alexa rankings – again, fully disclosed and objective. The Social Mavens are simply paid to blog their lifestyle experiences with no contract or commitment to any brand, nor retribution for any assessment – just like always.

A new Financial Instrument

The debit card serves as a financial instrument modeled after the insurance industry that replaces traditional advertising with managed ROI risk. Of course, we are not the only ones trying to find a way to make the 300 Billion dollar per year advertising spend more efficient….

Sticky Coupons

The following Rueters article demonstrates that the coupon is not dead – nor is it paper anymore.  ASK.com will compile coupons and help people to find savings.  This is good for advertisers since more can be given away on the coupon because less is spent on production and traditional media.  This is also good for the consumer as more valuable coupons is more money in one’s pocket.

Feed the Entrepreneurs, feed the economy

Now we need to ASK – as the coupon value increases and the redemption time decreases and If the minimum wage is 8 dollars per hour – at what point can a person earn 8 dollars per hour cutting coupons?   Can a Social Maven, in fact, earn a decent living doing other people’s shopping all on coupons?  Why not?

***original article here********

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ask, the search engine owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, unveiled a new service on Tuesday to help consumers seek out coupons for saving money when shopping online.

 

The new service, Ask Deals, helps users search the Web for deals available by aggregating the best offers to a proprietary database of more than 1 million offers from national and local merchants.

 

Ask’s management hopes by having a dedicated “deals” tab on its search engine page the feature will become a natural destination for consumers looking to save money with discounts on goods and services.

 

Ask has added features such as helping consumers share coupons and deals through email and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Users can also sign up for “Deal of the Day” emails.

 

The majority of Ask’s revenue comes through a search advertising partnership with market leader Google Inc, which brings up links of relevant advertisers in response to a user’s search query.

 

The Ask network was the fourth most-used search engine in the United States with a 3.9 percent share of all search queries in August, according to Web measurement firm comScore. Google had 64.6 percent market share, Yahoo had 19.3 percent share and Microsoft’s new Bing search engine had 9.3 percent share.

 

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Marketing in the Age of Social Capitalism

Family Recipe?

The recipe for selling great products to great customers in the age of Social Media resides first in helping people find their highest talent and passion.  Advertisers need to offer something to the community that they target.  The best place to start is in understanding the challenges and opportunities that a modern community faces.

The great innovations of our time were created by people doing what they enjoyed most by using their talents to the highest potential.  Disney, Boeing, Apple, Mattel, and nearly every other ground breaking venture had the secret sauce of people doing what they were best at and most passionate about – and it was not about collecting “stuff”

The passion play

Computer Enabled Society is in the midst of a struggle to reorganize itself outside of the construct of the traditional corporation. It seeks to develop methods and systems that allow for the reallocation of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to match a person’s natural talents, passions, and abilities with those complementary to other people. This is as true for communities as it is for corporations.  The result will be a profound new paradigm of Social Capitalism reflecting social priorities and community values.

Do no evil:

If marketers have the foresight and talent to “get ‘em while they’re young” or to “sell ‘em what they fear”, they certainly also have the foresight and methods to “develop ‘em to their highest potential”. Advertising agencies are full of real smart people who know how to deliver a hidden message – why not use that talent to empower people?

Instead, mass marketing pays mass money for mass audience from which to draw mass revenues – the message gets debased to play on mass fears, anxieties, and insecurities because this is the least common denominator.  As a result, actual products are designed to be marketed, sold, and thrown away; not to be particularly useful, productive, or even healthy.  Unnecessary innovation wastes human effort and natural resources while mass marketing of unnecessary innovation wastes the time and bandwidth of those for whom the product is irrelevant.  Yes, the majority of advertising is just Spam.

Advertisers as community organizers?

Few realize that advertising can become a highly useful component of the Innovation Economy.  In many professional practitioners look forward to hearing from vendors, educators, and fellow practitioners for trends, news, and developments that can strengthen their community.  Bad products are rejected quickly and good ones are elevated quickly. This is how the great innovations are found. This is where the early adopters congregate. This is where brand loyalty is unyielding. This is where wealth is created.  This is efficiency that society wants and needs. Social Media can deliver this audience but advertisers need to adapt by losing the CPM (cost per mille) model (more on that later).

Marketing to communities is fluid, dynamic, specific, and it takes some work.  The dynamics of communities will replace the statics of demography and CPM.  Fulfill those needs of a community and your products will win forever.  It is not difficult to see the future, only to act on it.  That is innovation.

Good Blogging is Good Business

Bankers do not care about money, they care about the rate of change in money – Interest Rates, ROI, and CAPM make the world go around.

Static web presence is getting squashed by dynamic content.  The best party has the best conversation.  It’s not the quality of life, it’s the quality of living. Countless expressions in business and culture reflect this idea.

I would like to thank John Ryan for this analysis:

***

More proof that blogging is smart business. Just make sure that whoever is blogging is a good writer and is committed to being consistent.

Otherwise, it will be a waste of time. You can either have your developers include a blog in your web experience or use free tools like WordPress to link to your website.
From Hubspot:

If you blog, you know that it’s good for your business.

But how — and how much?

To answer to those questions, I looked at data from 1,531 HubSpot customers (mostly small- and medium-sized businesses). 795 of the businesses in my sample blogged, 736 didn’t.

The data was crystal clear: Companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:

* 55% more visitors

* 97% more inbound links

* 434% more indexed pages

Why are website visitors important? Because more visitors mean more people to convert to leads and sales.

Why are inbound links important? Because they signal authority to search engines, thus increasing your chances of getting found in those search engines.

Why are indexed pages important? The more pages you have on your site, the more chances you have of getting found in search engines.

****

Thanks again John.  The value of any innovation is in the transformation.  Starbucks transforms 25 cents worth of milk, beans, and water into a 2 dollar cup of coffee = 800% return.  The laws of leveraging conversation applies equally effectively in conversation as in finance where astonishing returns are not uncommon.  We really need to start thinking about Conversation like a financial instrument capable of all the capitalistic magic that derivatives, bonds, options, and securitization methods offer. 

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Listening For What People are Listening For

Communities organize themselves:

Most people do not listen completely in conversations because they are too busy planning their response to what they think the other person is going to say.   Often what seems like astute response is a template that may fit a moment but can kill a conversation.  The successful conversation occurs when all participants speak to what the others are listening for. Not an easy trick.

I Heard the Ocean

When I first got into this social media stuff, I had a lot to say.  Then I figured out that nobody was listening; I learned a lot since then. As soon as I started to listen, people started listening back.   Today these people are my heroes, I hang on their every word, their generosity is roughly 70% of my social media world – where did they come from and where can I find more people like them?

Well, that’s all I have to say about that, so let’s listen to Janet Fouts. Part of her quote is a product pitch, but that illustrates an important point in Innovation Economics; conversation is currency and this currency has value:

“Before you dive into social media for any reason, listening should be your first step. What are people talking about and where are they doing it? Is there buzz out there about you or your product that you didn’t know about? Who should you be connecting to? Has there been a recent event you want to find out more about?

Setting up listening tools from free to paid versions can give you a tremendous amount of information and help you find even more things to talk about. I’ll give working examples of listening tools, outline a strategy for effective listening and give you some ideas to use this information in a real world setting.

This short 30 minute session will include links to both free and paid listening tools and creative scenarios for use.

You will learn how to:

  • Set up a set of listening tools to cover multiple platforms
  • Identify the right listening tools for your own needs
  • Identify the best networks for you to participate on
  • Evaluate what you find
  • Creative ways to engage and communicate your message
  • Find new topics to populate your blog and online discussions
  • Evaluate how effective your social media campaign is

Thanks Janet, Now here is a hint at the product pitch at Conversational Currency:

“In a few months, events such as Janet’s may need not  be funded by the participant.  Rather, our sponsors will support events for those most worthy of  participating.  Why would sponsors do such a thing?  Maybe they too are learning to listen, after all, roughly 70% of the US economy is consumer spending.  Will roughly 70% of ad budget be allocated on listening?”

What does all this mean?  keep listening!

Humility R Us

Many companies are flocking to Social Media as the great new tool for pitching products.  The results have been mixed; there are winners and there are losers.  At first, there was no clear path toward certain success but now the differences are becoming increasingly clear. Humility is rewarded and arrogance is punished.

If “Nice guys finish last,” is the mantra of the old world, then “The last will be first,” is the motto of the new.  To understand why humility works in social media, we need to understand what humility is.

Cashing the Reality Check

Humility does not mean looking down on oneself or thinking ill of oneself.  It really means not thinking of oneself very much at all.  The humble are free to forget themselves because they are secure.  So when they mess up, the humble don’t have to cover up.  They have nothing to hide.

All this is simply a way of saying that the humble are in touch with reality.  If the definition of insanity is being out of touch with reality, then in the old world, “nice guys finish last” illusion is clearly insane.

Strength in numbers

Since the humble are secure, they are strong.  And since they have nothing to prove, they don’t have to flaunt their strength or use it to dominate others.  Humility leads to meekness.  And meekness is not weakness.  Rather, it is strength under control, power used to build up rather than tear down.

You can’t buy happiness

Back in the early 90’s, I worked on an ad campaign in Hollywood.  The producer told everyone; “The objective of this commercial was to steal the thing that people love about their self, and sell it back to them for the price of the product”.

The marketing message has been for many years much along those lines.  Make people believe that they need something that they don’t.  Make people believe that they can buy happiness, love, and community.  Make people believe that reality is something that can be escaped.

Rising Tides float all ships

The great brand messages, the successful blogs, and the viral communications in social media all have one thing in common.  They provide true and real value to the most people.  They produce correct and practical insight for the most people. They empower the most people to help their selves.  They amplify the priorities of the most communities. They help the most people to be successful in their clear and present reality.

Soul Searching

Ironically, it will take great introspection in the hearts of many corporate brands that follow the old rules of marketing.  These corporations need to look backwards into their own corporate philosophy and business plan to re-identify what they represent and how they represent it.  This new identity must reach into R&D to define what innovations are developed and what features they provide.  This cannot and will not be easy for most.

Since the humble are secure, they are strong.  Likewise, when Brands are humble, they too are strong and they don’t have to flaunt their strength or use it to dominate others.  The power of social media is to build up rather than tear down.

The Value of Social Currency

How big is this opportunity?

Roughly 10% of the US gross Domestic Product can be attributed directly to the process of evaluating or examining transactions.  This represents a 1.4 Trillion Dollar of value in a system that may be better organized, captured, and preserved through social networks and the conversations that they produce.

Social vetting on a scale that would allow social networks to monetize would require that communities organize their knowledge assets specifically for deployment to a market.  All that an entrepreneur needs to do is fill this need.

What happens if they don’t?

The true cost of vetting may be calculated by what happens in the absence of oversight, transparency, and disclosure. When the vetting process fails, so too does the industry.  The continuing financial crisis of 2008 was fueled by a failure to regulate mortgage backed securities.  The financial Crisis of 2002 arose from a failed accounting (CPA) profession.

The losses due to the absence of vetting mechanism exceeds by many times the cost of having a system in place.  The financial crises of 2002 and 2008 have together wiped out nearly 20 Trillion dollars of value and incurred high volatility to financial systems due to failed vetting mechanisms.   The people who held the knowledge about the impending doom had no effective medium to share.

Who vets KNOWLEDGE assets?

The flow of money lives and dies by the vetting mechanism.  CarFax, Experian, Ebay, Google owe their existence to the ability to vet information – However, they do not vet knowledge.  The ability to deliver the right knowledge asset to the right place, at the right time for the right price is tantamount to being able to “manufacturing innovation”, that is, to print money.  Inversely, the ability to foresee the result of specific knowledge assets deployed to specific business conditions is the Holy Grail of entrepreneurs.

Social networks can carry out this very important function of the Innovation economy; organize, locate, and develop knowledge assets in a form which can emulate a financial instrument.

How are things changing?

Emerging ideas such as conversational currency, relationship economics, innovation economics,. nd new ways to value intangibles are appearing in research blogs across the web.  Disruptions to Global finance, environmental policy, and the emergence of global currencies are setting the stage for a huge transformation in how society organizes itself.  Traditional industries such as print media, advertising, and banking are failing. Nothing is sacred except change.

Where are these communities, and what do they want?

Many communities exist today in a variety of forms and functions such as communities of practice, fellowships, service organizations, professional societies, trades groups, affinity groups, etc.  Increasingly they are moving to Social Media such as Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, Affinity groups, aggregation groups, and political action groups.  Communities are using social media technology to engage the knowledge domain contained within them.

As such, they will soon have ability to foresee the result of specific knowledge assets deployed to specific business conditions.  This is the Holy Grail of modern civilization.

Advertising in the Age of Social Capitalism

The recipe for selling great products to great customers in the age of Social Media resides first in helping people find their highest talent and passion.

The great innovations of our time were created by people doing what they enjoyed most by using their talents to the highest potential.  Disney, Boeing, Apple, Mattel, and nearly every other ground breaking venture had the secret sauce of people doing what they were best at and most passionate about.

Advertising in the Age of Social Capitalism

Computer Enabled Society is in the midst of a struggle to reorganize itself outside of the construct of the traditional corporation. People seek to develop methods and systems that allow for the reallocation of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to match a person’s natural talents and passions with those complementary to other people.

If marketers have the foresight and methods to “get ‘em while they’re young”, they certainly also have the foresight and methods to develop ‘em to their highest purchasing potential.  All they need to do is listen and support to the future trends in Social Capitalism.

Instead, mass marketing pays mass money for mass audience from which to draw mass revenues.  As a result, actual products are designed to be marketed and thrown away; not to be particularly useful, productive, or even healthy.  Such unnecessary innovation wastes human effort and natural resources while mass marketing of unnecessary innovation wastes the time and bandwidth of those for whom the product is irrelevant (yes, Spam).  Economies of scale will become liabilities of scale in an Social Capital driven Innovation Economy.

Few realize that advertising can become a highly useful component of the Innovation Economy.  In many professional societies, practitioners look forward to hearing from vendors, educators, and fellow practitioners for trends, news, and developments that can strengthen their community.  Bad products are rejected quickly and good ones are elevated quickly. This is how the great innovations are found. This is where the early adopters congregate. This is where brand loyalty is unyielding. This is where wealth is created.  This is efficiency that society wants and needs.

The Ingenesist Project starts the discussion by specifying the creation of a knowledge inventory in society.  This simple exercise enables communities of practice to form around a set of knowledge attributes.  Advertisers can quickly identify target markets and support the operating costs of these communities in exchange for the bandwidth of the members.   The community will look forward to learning about the advances in the field of their interest and ad copy will become far more useful and efficient to deliver in greater detail.

When communities of practice merge with other communities in the innovation process, the message of the advertiser can be carried far and clear as people share ideas and coordinate activity.  Feedback to the vender is highly qualified thereby creating a virtuous circle of innovation.  In the age of social media, highly targeted advertising is simply more efficient than “bending the herd” in a TV era mass market model.

Social Media; the Integrator of the Innovation Economy

Where are the gray suited diplomats holding each others forearms against a world map backdrop vowing to correct the world’s innovation system?  Where are the politicians joining across party lines about how to inject 700 billion dollars to fix the nation’s innovation system?  When will the Federal Reserve Chairman find the flaw in our national innovation system?  Hey, when will someone notice that we don’t have a national innovation system?

Schumpeterian Economics argues that corporations represent our nation’s innovation endowment. However, the primary function of a corporation is to make money, not explicitly to innovate.  Sure, they innovate if they must – most likely to beat down a more innovative competitor.  But, as soon as bad times hit, most will shift money from R&D to marketing.

If we look back only 400 hundred years, everyone on Earth lived on an average of about 500 dollars per year.  Then the innovations from the prior 2,000,000 years started to converge.  Counting backwards; the knowledge economy was “derived” from the information revolution, which was derived from the manufacturing revolution which was “derived” the Industrial revolution which was “derived” from the scientific revolution, which was “derived” from the agrarian economy.  Each revolution “Integrated” the tools of the prior revolution; The Knowledge economy integrated the tools of the information age and the information age integrated the tools of the manufacturing economy, etc.  By the way, the term “derived” is related to the term “derivative” – the primary hedging tool integrated in our current financial system.

Each economic revolution was marked by a tremendous increase in human productivity – we no longer need to milk our own cow. Victoria trades a dollar’s worth of her time as an airplane engineer for a dollar’s worth of the Robert’s time as an agricultural engineer.  Bill Gates is worth 50 billion dollars because he increased the productivity of a minimum of a billion people by a minimum of 50 dollars each.  I save 5 dollars in gas by not driving to the library when I can just search Google or Wikipedia.

The only way to “make” more money is to increase human productivity and the only sustainable way to increase human productivity is to find better ways of doing things.  Anything else is simply a transfer or redistribution of money.  Both are important – but often we confuse them under the same terminology: “making money”.  Or, we reverse the two by literally making (printing) money and then transferring it to corporations under the assumption that they will innovate enough to support everyone else plus the debt.  This system worked great for many years and in many political forms – it brought us from living in caves to a 65 trillion dollar global economy.  But like the economic revolutions before it, the current economic structure will soon give way to a new paradigm as we are forced to reach for higher productivity.

What the brilliant economist, Joseph Schumpeter did not have in his time was the technological breakthrough of Computer Enabled Society.  Taking a hint from the past; the new economic paradigm will be derived from the knowledge economy by integrating the tools developed during the knowledge economy. That is why we now have Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube – and all the rest.

Everyone agrees that information, knowledge, and innovation are profoundly related.  In fact, we can say that knowledge is derived from information and that innovation is derived from knowledge.  The new paradigm will be called the Innovation Economy and it will arise from the integration of the tools of the knowledge economy using social media. We see terms like open-sourcing, crowd sourcing, social networking, groundswells, innovation exchanges and a host of new Social Media Internet applications.  All of these have one thing in common; the tangibility of human knowledge.  This is the Holy Grail of modern finance and it is not a coincidence – it is now within our grasp.

In the past, human knowledge was only tangible inside the construct of a corporation – the corporate structure integrated knowledge assets to make things people want and need. However, with Social Media, knowledge assets will become tangible outside the corporate structure and integrated by knowledge communities, social networks, crowds, groundswells, etc. Knowledge communities will mix, combine, interact, and share knowledge; inevitably the end result is innovation – to make things that people want and need. These knowledge communities will become the next “corporation” acting directly as the integrator of human knowledge.  Ironically, Social Media “outsources” management.  Traditional corporations will not disappear as the agrarian economy never disappeared – they will just integrate.

Ideally, Wall Street is a simply a horse race where money is bet on corporations to fund innovation.  There is nothing wrong with that.  We don’t need a new financial system; we need a new and improved innovation system.  We have the technology; all we need now is the “integrator”.  The Ingenesist Project is the only viable comprehensive integrator now being proposed.  Perhaps it is not perfect, but the next economic paradigm will be certainly be derived from its improvement.

The Capitalization of Knowledge – The Virtuous Circle

We have set up a new game for entrepreneurs to play called Innovation Economics. We have defined a currency and an inventory where knowledge is visible outside the construct of the corporation – and resident in social networks. We have also described a way for entrepreneurs to visualize the knowledge asset and the supply and the demand for knowledge assets. We have given them a tool for matching assets for profit. We have described how social networks will keep the game fair. We have outlined the structure of new business plans; the brain storming session, product development cycle, the neural network, and the multiplier effect. Future businesses will be built upon combination of these four structures and whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up.

We have described all of the pieces needed to form a new economy. Now we need to connect with the financial markets so that knowledge is readily convertible to other currencies.

For review;

With the financial bank, the entrepreneur assumes that they have the knowledge to execute a business plan and then they look for the money. The risk is that the entrepreneur does not in fact have enough knowledge.

With the Innovation Bank, we assume that we have the money, and we go to the bank to search for the knowledge. The risk is not having enough money to purchase sufficient expertise.

With both banks acting together – the risks cancel each other out and the innovation economy tends toward a ‘risk free’ cycle; the more knowledge you can assemble, the more money you can borrow. The more money you can assemble, the more knowledge you can assemble.

Now we have a virtuous circle. The more knowledge you have, the more money you can borrow; and the more money you have, the more knowledge you can borrow.

There is no shortage of money circling the globe – only a shortage of risk free places to put the money. The innovation economy is an environment of very high return for a very low risk and will attract a great deal of money to fund innovation enterprise.

Earlier we demonstrated that money represents human productivity. It follows that the places that have the greatest potential for increasing human productivity can create the greatest amount of wealth. Therefore, poor areas and marginalized economies with under utilized knowledge inventories or the injection of specific knowledge inventories, become the highest ROI centers in a risk-free system; a condition the explicitly favors the wealth equalization rather than wealth disparity.

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