3p is proud to partner with the Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course on a blogging series about “sustainable marketing.” This post is part of that series. To follow along, please click here.
By Piper Kujac
The meteoric rise of collaborative consumption start-ups, such as AirBnB, GoGrubly, Getaround, thredUp, and SnapGoods, to name a few, is arguably due to social media and the people-powered networks that support them. This marketplace is quickly evolving into a robust open-source business platform worth upwards of $110 billion. Known as the access economy, it not only reduces society’s footprint by connecting people to shared resources, but increases society’s net worth, by connecting people to each other through relationships.
In fact, as SnapGoods founder Ron J. Williams says, it’s about selling ‘karma,’ not the actual good itself. Ron has found that it’s the experience of building relationships, and story telling that gets people coming back for more. And that’s not a bad customer loyalty program. When it works well, people actually make money off the stuff they already have: their spare room, prized motorcycle, car they don’t need on weekends. Their fans take care of marketing through tweets, twitpics, Facebook ‘likes,’ and smartphone apps. People vote with their feet, or fingertips in this case, to get what they want affordably, and choose the kind of consumer experience they want to have.
The social factor is so big that new business models are evolving out of the access economy, just to track its progress. One such site, Shareable, recently tallied these consumers figures:
So where is all this headed, you might ask? The beauty of people-powered business is that it evolves organically, or virally in this case, in reaction to consumer wants and needs. That means you, the consumer, is the primary stakeholder and shareholder here, and your voice influences the direction of the social enterprise.
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