Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am part of a community, therefore, I buy.

There are some Forrester stats that do the rounds. I quote them myself when speaking. Up to 70% of all purchase decisions are made based on word of mouth.
The more I think about marketing and advertising in the networked world, the more I start to believe that figure is a lie.
It's nowhere near high enough.
Every purchase decision I make of any significant value is made based on word of mouth. Do you call it word of mouth if the conversation is entirely online? You do as far as I'm concerned.
Especially if you're using a conversation enabler, such as twitter.
As the blurring between real and virtual worlds accelerates, we won't be bothering with the distinction for long.
Latest one; I decided I needed a really small wireless device. I was in Cumbria at the time - away from my broadband access and where even my mobile internet access was seriously diminished by the lack of 3G.
My approach was to ask my twitter community for advice. See some of the conversation in the pictures.
Essentially, I listed what kind of device I was looking for and some people whose opinions I trust shared what they thought would be a good option. The conversation continued with calls for reasons why I shouldn't buy - and a bit of pro MacAir banter and the result was I placed an order for an Asus EEEPC (4GB one with webcam). It was quite hard to come by. Demand is high. It's the latest wii with stocks flying off the shelves at your local ToysRus. And I needed it ready for this coming weekend.

An interesting aside that a device that is portable and keeps you constantly connected is such a hit with kids (this thing is so small it almost looks like a toy). The creation generation wants the participation to go on and on and on...

Anyways - I tried reaching out through twitter to see if someone wanted to sell me one... but to no avail - I had to go the traditional route.

But at least the (re) 'search' element of the process was entirely human, complete with trusted recommendation. There's clearly life in that Mahalo (human-powered search engines) concept.
I made my intention to buy clear, and my community helped me make the purchase.

I didn't read any 'expert' reviews, I relied on the wisdom of my crowd. And I really don't think I'm alone in acting like this. Interestingly, I had never heard of this brand before. Any equity it now has for me has come from my interactions with members of my community.

I wonder when those on the 'intent to sell' side of the great divide will reach back towards us?

A picture of the intention economy

FasterFuture.blogspot.com

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?