Sunday, 15 March 2009

Social Influence & The Future Of Marketing

Three Spheres IIImage via Wikipedia

In my post, "My Network Is My Search Engine" I focused on the important of social networks in terms of content filtering. But the truth is, that with the fast paced proliferation of social networks, it's only a matter of time before our networks are completely ubiquitous.

What happens if social networks become "like air?". What changes will happen to our world if they are integrated into every, e-commerce, blogs etc. etc. While it's still in it's early phase, semantic services are leading the way to create this social level on top of everything...and services like Facebook or Google friend connect are attempting to link our networks to the very fabric of the way we utilize and experience the commercial Web.

What will this mean for marketers? We know that clients recognize that word of mouth is important but they often still view the world in terms of mass viral vs. influence. At SXSW Charlene Li showed mock-ups that had 'Amazon in the future' where you could filter recommendations based on your personal network vs. the general public. And many people have been looking at spheres of influence (individuals, close ties, weak ties, friends of friends) and how they might change the way we use the Web for a while now.

But maybe it's time we stopped just imagining that this is some far off future. I mean how far off do we really think this is? 1 year? 2? 3 at the very most and that means companies that want to leverage this as a competitive opportunity need to consider how they are approaching social ecosystem strategies today.

If social networks become part of everything tomorrow, how would what you do every day change? I've already have a whole bunch of ideas and frameworks in my head including of extensions of my Green Man Marketing presentation. Now the hard job. Applying and refining them.

We may not know for sure what the future will look like, but one thing I'm sure of, social influence will be a cornerstone for the future of marketing.

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