Socialnomics Sneak Preview - Introduction:
In 1992, James Carville coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid.”1 This simple phrase was a major driver behind why Bill Clinton became our forty-second president. Much has happened since 1992, with the most powerful change being the ubiquitous adoption and assimilation of the Internet. The Internet has revolutionized almost every facet of our business and personal lives. This last statement about the Internet is hopefully not news to anyone reading this book. What is news however is that, today, we are in the early stages of yet another far-reaching revolution.
This revolution is being driven by people and enabled by social media. That is why nearly two decades later we are taking liberty with Carville’s famous quote by adjusting it to: “It’s a people-driven economy, stupid.” Although only a slight modification of words, it’s a drastic adjustment in philosophy and in how people and businesses are changing and will continue to evolve in the coming years. Barack Obama understood that it was now a peopledriven economy, and he rode this philosophy and strategy all the way to the White House. He was able to leverage social media to mobilize the young and old alike, to go from an unknown senator in 2004 to the most powerful man in the world four short years later. In his historic victory speech, he acknowledges this:
I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. . . . We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. . . . It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5, $10, and $20 to the cause.
Socialnomics is a massive socioeconomic shift. Yet, some of the core marketing and business principals of the last few centuries will still apply; whilst other basic principals will become as extinct as the companies that continue to try to force them on the unwilling public. We are already seeing the economic potential of social media in its ability to reduce inefficient marketing and middlemen. Million-dollar television advertisements are no longer the king influencer of purchase intent.
People referring products and services via social media tools are the new king. It is the world’s largest referral program in history. There is also less need to subscribe to costly newspapers when consumers are pushed more relevant and timely free content from their peers via social media. The news finds us. All of this can be done easily from the comfort of home or while on the go with mobile devices.
These paradigms and shifts, along with many others, are discussed in the forthcoming pages. The end result is that everything from purchasing a baby carriage to drafting a last will and testament is easier and cheaper for the consumer and more profitable for the seller. Social media also eliminates millions of people performing the same tasks (multiple individual redundancy) over and over.
If a new father sees via social media that 14 of his closest friends have purchased the same brand and model baby seat and they all express glowing reviews, he will not waste hours on research, as it has already been done by people he trusts. This recaptures billions of hours that can be redistributed toward the betterment of society.
Today’s winners are not the result of Madison Avenue, Blueblood Political Parties, or Monopolistic Distributors. As a result of the ease and speed with which information can be distributed amongst the social graph, the winners today are great products and services—which ultimately means that people win. Companies can elect to do business as usual at their own peril. We are at the start of a newer and brighter world for consumers and businesses; this is the world of Socialnomics.