“That was Easy.” This red button was the physical manifestation of an advertising slogan that office superstore giant Staples ran.  They ended up giving away millions of these little red buttons, which said the words when pressed.  Great, simple campaign.

Later this week, I’ll be delivering a keynote to a marketing conference in Manchester.  I’m focussing on convenience as one of the features of something I call the “expectation economy”.  That is, the changing face of why people buy from key platforms.  At home, Amazon, eBay, i-Tunes, Google and Facebook consume the bulk of our face time and are becoming our de-facto on-line shopping malls/social/search platforms.

They are shaking the on-line world down as they continue to consolidate, throw their net wider, provide new and additional services which makes life easier for people.  As an example, in September last year, Facebook started to sell credits in stores in the USA, in the same way you could buy mobile phone credit.  A potential game changing moment. Right now, they can only be used to buy apps or other in-game stuff, however it’s only a matter of time before Facebook becomes a fully blown trading platform in its own right, then what’s going to happen?

Inevitably, they’ll scoop up a process that is currently being transacted somewhere else. They’ll find a way to integrate into their social sphere.  They’ll make it easier for buyers with one-click.  They’ll make it mobile.  They’ll make it easy.  They realise that people are busy, moments are being maximised, the more folk can do on the move or with a mobile in their hand, the better.  Upgrades, last minute stuff, gift certificates, movement of money, you name it, I bet you’re going to see it at some point in the near future.  Perhaps Facebook credits may become a new global currency?

Social Networking for Business…..

I wrote this below as an e-mail to some other members of the Chamber of Commerce as a very quick and basic guide to social networking for businesses. It is basic, I know that, however there are many businesses that have read about social networking and want to know how to make the first steps. Here’s what I said: –
A blog (web log) is a place where someone or a business, writes their thoughts down for others to read. This is normally done, daily, weekly or monthly. They are great for tracking highly relevant people or topics of interest.Linkedin is a networking site, almost exclusively used by businesspeople, to keep track of their contacts. You invite people to be part of your network and they invite you to be part of theirs. It’s a good way of increasing your contact base, starting discussion groups and getting feedback and also putting your profile on the web for people who don’t know you to hook up with you.

Facebook is more focussed on you as a person, that’s why the site is more focussed on the social side, friends and family. However, lot’s of businesspeople and businesses put their profiles on there too and also use it as a way of getting people with a common interest in their services to communicate with each other. I’m not on facebook myself, but I know plenty of people who are.

Myspace is like facebook, but not exactly the same. My wife and I use it to keep track of friends and people we met on holiday etc, not for business. However, many consumber B2C brands use it, but these tend to be the bigger companies.Twitter is one of the new kids on the block and is known as “micro-blogging”. It allows you to put real time messages/posts up for others to follow (called “Tweets”). The messages are short like text messages. I use Twitter to keep track of key journalists, politicians and industry contacts, Gordon Brown has been Twittering whilst in the USA and Barrack Obama also used it as part of his election campaign. You can see my tweets in the right hand column of this blog.

If it all seems a bit much, but you want to start with something. My recommendation is start with Linkedin first (load your profile and find other people you know) and then follow some blogs. When you’ve mastered this, think about other things.