Friday, 3 August 2007 - 'power of the tribes' in action!

I was interested to see a story this week about More than 53,000 people have registered at the site where for a £35 pledge they will form a consortium to take over a team. This is the latest example of how the internet is empowering consumers by enabling them to exercise power through co-operatives.

The internet (and particularly social networking sites) are helping to develop what Uli Selzer from Toyota calls ‘the power of the tribes.’ Like minded individuals are able to join up in ways that were not possible previously - both online and in real life. This is happening on a number of levels from 1 million+ people signing the road pricing E-petition, to Ebay connecting buyers and sellers of rare memorabilia to holidaying on a remote Fijian island through

These are disparate groups, but they are formed joined by a central theme. These people are defined by their common interest rather than traditional definitions of ‘ABC1 adults’, ‘ISBA London’, Std Reg Scotland etc, yet these social definitions still predominate.

It is no surprise therefore to see the continued growth of targeted digital marketing. In Search paid for listings initially target by theme and interest, before giving the option to filter by demographic or geographic targeting. This improves relevancy and leads to a greater ROI and more effective advertising. The success of this model is encouraging Google, Ebay (and others) to experiment with trading in traditional media channels. Google’s acquisition of DMarc and subsequent investment in Audio Adwords has the potential to revolutionise radio station economics and there has also been testing of Adwords in print. Ebay are experimenting in the US with their ‘Media Marketplace’, selling TV and radio by online auction.'

These trading models aim to target more relevant ads to consumers whilst their dynamic nature aims to enable clients to plan deployment of budget more effectively. Buying by audience is largely irrelevant in this context and the increased transparency of the trading model will be appealing for many. Consumers will be targeted according to their interest rather than their demographic or location, and these mediums could become more accessible for the smaller advertisers of the so called ‘long tail.’

As technology allows consumers to act in different ways, and congregate from afar, systems that allow improved targeting will flourish. This is backed up by recent acquisitions (Google / Doubleclick, Microsoft / aQuantive) and recent developments like Panama. It also gives credence to the view that while the 80’s were all about creative and the 90’s all about media, then we are currently in the middle of a technology phase that shows no signs of slowing.

No comments: