At Demand Success this morning, Jeremiah Owyang delivered insights from Altimeter Group’s The Collaborative Economy, a groundbreaking study of the digital era’s latest disruptive trend: shared access to products.
In the first phase of the Internet era, says Jeremiah Owyang, a small group of people could publish content and millions could read it, giving a small group of people holding the power.
Today, the social media age allows everyone to publish, giving publishers the power.
In the near future, we’ll see the collaborative economy, where ownership and access are shared between people, startups and corporations.
“People are getting what they want from each other and avoiding traditional marketers and corporations,” Jeremiah says. “This is the biggest disruption I’ve seen in a couple of decades.”
Jeremiah adds that with such a reliance on social media and a group of people born into a world where sharing is the norm, this trend is not a fad.
Here are three ways brands and marketers are already leveraging the collaborative economy.
1. Turning products into services
In the collaborative economy companies will avoid selling and instead rent them out, provide subscriptions or gift them.
Jeremiah points out that businesses like Netflix, Salesforce and Vocus have provided software as a service for years.
However, it even works with consumer goods. To avoid the disruption of people renting out their own vehicles, BMW and Toyota now have dealerships which rent out brand new cars.
Another example: Dollar Shave Club, the company which turned razors into a subscription service.
2. Motivate the marketplace
“(Marketers must) enable customers to resell products, potentially co-own, swap, lend and even gift it,” Jeremiah says.
AirBnB is a platform that allows people to rent out their homes like a hotel.
A big problem for hotel chains? It’s an opportunity, says Jeremiah. Hotels could work with AirBnB to certify homes, or partner to provide concierge and maid services.
“All win, and all get a cut from the marketplace,” he says.
3. Provide a platform
“Every single business function in our company, including marketing,now involves the crowd,” Jeremiah says.
The key to going from ‘silo’ to ‘collaboration’ is giving customers an easy way to interact with you.
People are already seeking online services that help them co-fund, co-design and co-develop a variety of products.
NikeID, for example, allows customers to choose certain design features, such as colors, for their shoes.
“It’s not fully customized for your foot or head, but that will come,” Jeremiah says.
Your customers already want to collaborate with you – so make it easier for them.