Popularity Online Only *Seems* Democratic, Or Purchasable The Actual Currency Is *Social Currency*

Marketing technologies and VC-funded big marketing budgets have engendered a smug attitude with some new companies; telling them they can out-think the public, or out-spend their competition. In reality, the most-liked company wins. It’s absolutely a popularity contest in the closest thing to a meritocracy possible. 

Successful marketing costs in a way you can’t measure, or perhaps in the only way that matters: it’s really about what you give, because that’s what gets you social currency. That’s what confers shares and sales.  Social currency cannot be bought. Sure, you can pay to get traffic, but that traffic will not convert. 

The ‘interruption marketing’ we all now accept is providing smaller and smaller wins, for more and more money. 

  1. Vendors don’t realize the technology has depersonalized consumers, giving marketers the attitude that any given lead is disposable. As we describe elsewhere, the technology has more or less weaponized marketing. 
  2. Vendors forget the lifting is done by the public, who finds them during Internet search, in the Buyer Journey;
  3. Vendors forget the options the Internet has provided people means any given vendor has almost no power, leverage or import;
  4. They forget the Internet has necessitated ‘permission marketing’ (credit to Seth Godin), versus ‘interruption marketing’;
  5. Vendors forget that the buyer has divergent needs and interests, and is working on their own timeframe;
  6. Vendors forget that buyers are not disposable.

Social currency cannot be bought. Sure, you can pay to get traffic, but that traffic will not convert. 

To wit – advances with marketing technology or advertising technology need to be accompanied by advances in understanding, which has yet to happen.

As Gary Vaynerchuk says: vendors and their marketers need to behave like small shop owners, in small towns – where word-of-mouth reigns supreme and they are visible from all angles.

Or, as Mark W. Schaefer says: the most human company wins.

To get wins moving into the future, vendors need to understand that content is currency, that social currency cannot be bought, and that we now live in what Gary Vaynerchuk calls The Thank You Economy.