For a year or so already, just about no driver in Israel’s metropolitan areas was ever out of finger reach of Waze. Slowly, waves of Waze users have crept into the US. It is fun and useful, especially when you have a companion in the car. One of Google’s first principles is “Focus on the user and all else will follow,” and acquiring Waze fits that and several other of their core tenets. Let’s hope that the combination of Google and Waze adds additional value. There are so many odd edges to other social media programs that this is not necessarily the case.
How is this scenario: you are at the airport sitting in the executive lounge of an airline where you have flown for a long, long time, spent umpteen quid with, and suffered the many petty indignities that are an inevitable byproduct of the true joy of travel (and lest we forget: traveling the world remains an awesome experience). Sitting not far from you in the lounge, the lounge to which you are invited because of the status or miles or money you have expended, sits a traveller who is not a frequent flyer of the airline, does not travel much, does not particularly like your airline, but…. because of a high “Klout Score” has been invited. Yes, his tangled skein of connections to hundreds, or tens of thousands of people through participation in FourSquare and Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook and through the many Instagrams and Vines and Tumblr blog posts and references, has earned him what you got through cold, hard cash.
And the kicker is, when your flight is cancelled and you need to be re-routed, non-frequent flyer guy is the first to the desk and manages to grab the last seat that will lead to your destination – because he heard it first via a buddy on Twitter. Welcome to the new world where interconnections trump your transactional relationship with your airline, and tomorrow your bank, hotel, grocer, and online retailer. And no one at any of these establishments had the idea to let you know that this is happening.
So soon you will be turned down for the better interest rate, or preferred room, or early access to an offer because, despite your relative affluence your lack of interconnectedness with a mass of others leaves your relative value statistically less valuable in the long run. The question is not, “will this really happen,” because it has already begun. The questions will be “do you fall in line, develop a strong network so as not to left behind” and “at what price is it worth it to reveal all of the minutiae of your likes, habits, travels, spending – to keep up your status that once flowed naturally with increasing earnings or credit rating.
Businesses are struggling with how soon do they move into this new world of social connections and clout and affiliation strength and influence – however this may be measured. In the meantime, as you do dip your Marketing toe into this new field, be careful not to alienate your established base of customers that earned their positions the old fashioned way. Nuance will be everything here with this type of probability and gamification approach.
Have any of you begun influence-based perks, incentives, and personalized customer support yet? Let’s here about it.