Archives for posts with tag: intention economy

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Facebook is starting to join the real-time conversational marketing bandwagon. Basically, ads will be delivered based on the declared intention of the user. Ad Age explains:

“Users who update their status with “Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,” could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. (…) ”

With real-time delivery, the mere mention of having a baby, running a marathon, buying a power drill or wearing high-heeled shoes is transformed into an opportunity to serve immediate ads, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles. Facebook didn’t have to create new ads for this test and no particular advertiser has been tapped to participate — the inventory remains as is.

A user may not have liked any soccer pages or indicated that soccer is an interest, but by sharing his trip to the pub for the World Cup, that user is now part of the Adidas target audience. The moment between a potential customer expressing a desire and deciding on how to fulfill that desire is an advertiser sweet spot, and the real-time ad model puts advertisers in front of a user at that very delicate, decisive moment.”

Could this work? Isn’t that finally the transformation of advertising from attention to intention? VRM has finally arrived? Hallelujah?

Sadly, no. Facebook tries to find a business model that can help them sustain their valuation of $85 billion. Or, is it $4.5 gazillion by now? Fact is, the Facebook ads perform abysmal. Brand pages and apps are doing okay but Facebook needs to make most of their money from  ads. So, they are scrambling. Problem is, the contract between Facebook and each Facebook user is broken. It’s not broken enough for people to leave Facebook. We’re just too lazy to head over to another network. It might happen one day. But not in the foreseeable future. The platform is too user-friendly, too big and too embedded into our daily lives.

Facebook is the new Microsoft

We didn’t like to use PC’s, always envied the Apple users. We didn’t really care for another version of Office. But the rest of the world was using it. Microsoft was omnipresent and we had no alternatives. That’s how people feel about Facebook. John Battelle thinks people will game the system. I don’t really see it as gaming, just another way to look for special offers.

But that’s not real challenge.

Facebook has only one asset: You & me, and the community we create. In order for Facebook to command any decent valuation, all of us have to be comfortable with the deal. And the deal is that Facebook sells our data, our personas to marketers. This requires an open, truthful and transparent relationship between Facebook and us. Have you ever thought of Facebook as an open, truthful and transparent company?

Exactly.

The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations do matter. Relationships as well. So, do reputation, respect and trust. To think Facebook can be the mediator in an intention economy is, to say the least, questionable.

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This post was first published on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site.

Last week’s Monaco Media Forum with the theme “Mobilization” was a fascinating event filled with superstars of the media, advertising, VC and emerging technologies world. As usual with conferences of this magnitude, the most insightful conversations took place outside of the main event center.

It is pretty apparent that the advertising/media industry continues to optimize ways delivering relevant messages to people: Data warehouses, behavioral targeting, and contextual targeting – you name it. While the powerhouses of that industry shared the main stage, emerging technology providers and VC’s are starting to build new tools that focus more on the intent of people.

Advertising faces a race to the bottom: studies have shown that the least desirable customers click on ads and paying people specifically to look at advertising is likely to catch lower income people with time on their hands – not a good option for marketers. Sure, we’re getting better at delivering relevant messages to people but the success rates of our marketing efforts are fairly low and the privacy questions comes up more often. Which leads us to the question: Where are we going from here?

The Intention Economy

A more effective way of engaging with people is to build tools that engage both parties (customers and vendors) in ways that work for both. While CRM systems are very one-sided in their benefits, ask vendors to bear the burden of the whole engagement and don’t allow customers to engage on their own terms, VRM systems (Vendor Relationship Management) help customers to be equipped with tools that transform them from followers in the marketplace to leaders. Let me give you an example:

Location-based apps are the big craze in the emerging media world right now. I visit a place, check-in and the marketing tactic is to receive special offers from the place itself or competitors. The VRM idea would be different: It’s noon and I plan on going to lunch in 10 minutes. I declare my intent to restaurants within a specific radius, even specifying my budget and the size of my party. Restaurants have now the opportunity to engage with me during the next 10 minutes to send me specific offers, based on my intent. Clearly, brands have a real captive audience for a limited amount of time and don’t need to waste any advertising inventory with guesswork.

VRM used to be an intellectual framework, nothing more. The Monaco Media Forum convinced me that entrepreneurs are starting to buy into this concept and building the necessary tools to bring VRM to life. I saw apps and sites that are based on the VRM model, and I’m convinced that the end of data collection for advertisers (Foursquare, Facebook) is near. The future is bright and the future is based on intent.