Wednesday, August 5

"S-" is the new "E-"

Remember back in the day when Cyber was the suffix du jour? We had Cybercafes, Cyberspace, Cybermalls, Cybersex. Cyber, cyber, cyber. Then one day Cyber became sooooo 1996 and we switched over to the more modest, less likely to mock, e-. eCommerce, eBanking, eBooks, eCRM, eCoupons, eMail, eToys, eBay, e, e, e. It became synonymous with "something you can do in real life, but on the Internet instead!" The fastest way to distinguish that your program or service was cutting edge and different.

Well, e is soooo 2008. Please welcome the new prefix 2.0 ... Sesame Street interlude here ...

s- !

Yes s, as in Social of the networking variety. Social media, with Facebook and Twitter as the poster children, is finally incorporating itself into standard online marketing strategies. Can't figure out how to cram your marketing into social media? Cram social media into your marketing! Just add an s to it.

(Once again Mobile gets dethroned so close to the finish. Bye bye m-, we barely new ya.)

Here's a couple s terms coming your way in the next fiscal marketing year:

Sure some marketers are tapping into social networks to enhance their purchasing experience [Jansport w/Fbook Connect] or promote their sales promotions [Dell, local malls].

But the new trend is cramming eCommerce into the social networks themselves. Bring the shopping cart, cash register, and UPS truck to the consumers, if you can lure them away from tagging old high school photos long enough to actually buy something. 1800 Flowers just launched an e-commerce page on Fbook. Other retailers are sure to quickly follow.

Does this position Fbook as the next Can they actually charge enough commission to make a decent living? Too early to tell, but at least it provides something new to dangle in front of the investor community.

So what happens when Microblogging meets Micropayments? Who will be the first to figure out an eCommerce transaction via Twitter? [hint: Pizza Hut]

More importantly, will they create a funny name for it (twuys requiring twitcash)? Perhaps Paypal should buy Twitter to protect their eCash from sCash. The South Bay Community Network might just be sitting on a golden URL.

It's like eMail but less trackable! My Fbook inbox and Twitter direct messages are just as congested as my Outlook. Which means they are now prime candidates for marketing clutter.

Actually, I think limiting emails to 140 characters could be the most productive technology solution since charging for faxes per page. I have no problem implementing private tweets as the new corporate messaging platform. Even better if attachments are limited to 140KB.

Finally, my favorite fuzzy acronym. CRM on its own has a hundred definitions and receives the most hesitant not-sure-exactly-what-you-are-talking-about headnods per capita of any marketing term. eCRM is often pitched as the solution if you don't have a CRM program.

Where CRM focuses on the lifetime value of a consumer, eCRM focuses on using the internet to cheaply maintain that relationship. All of which is very one-to-one. Where is the viral word of mouth influence in that?

But add an s to CRM and now we're talking viral. I envision sCRM as maintaining a relationship with consumers who have the highest likelihood to socialize your brand. Thus you could potentially reach a much larger audience through key influencers, without messing around with double opt-ins and database fields. Pyramid scheme relationship marketing. Amway would be impressed.

Of course, you need a plan for actually identifying those influencers and communicating with them. Which is how the new breed of sMarketing agencies are born.

Our industry loves buzzwords. Social continues to rank at the top of the hype list, destined to be ingrained in your marketing strategies for the near term.

So pick you favorite marketing term, add an s, and be amazed when your programs are recognized as the future of marketing.

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