How The Sharing Economy Will Impact Marketing

Editor’s note: Anji Ismail is the CEO and co-founder of DOZ, a curated marketplace that connects brands with the digital marketing experts around the globe.

It’s hard to find a space that the sharing economy hasn’t touched. It’s already influenced transportation (Uber and BlaBlaCar); lodging (Airbnb); labor (TaskRabbit and Homejoy); education (Udemy); DIY businesses (Etsy and eBay); legal and HR services (UpCounsel and Recruitloop); and logistics (Deliv) among others.

The sharing economy allows people to conveniently access goods and services in sustainable ways, to engage in new experiences, and to capitalize on greater economic efficiencies. And it is now coming to digital marketing.

Today, brands require marketing professionals with unique skills pertaining to specific industries, countries, languages, cultures, locations, etc. A marketing marketplace introduces brands to a diversity of professionals, which is almost impossible to have — at that kind of scale — in-house. These features benefit both marketers and brands in a number of ways.

More effective marketing. Marketing campaigns performed by curated teams of experts who possess the necessary skills as well as a genuine interest in a particular industry, promise to be more effective. Peer-to-peer platforms are making this possible through algorithms that facilitate better matching of marketer to marketing campaign. This ensures that a marketing campaign for a coffee brand is executed by a marketer who is also a coffee lover — which ultimately leads to more effective marketing.

More creativity. Crowdsourcing is being used by big brands to generate new ideas, logos and even products. The number of companies digitizing and crowdsourcing B2B services for innovation and creativity is on the rise.

Creads, helps brands discover their visual identities (logos, mascot, brand names). Cloudpeeps helps companies manage their social media activities. eYeka looks to their online community and asks for creative ideas for advertising campaigns.

Marketing professionals working on collaborative platforms tend to bring outside perspectives and freshness of ideas. And while peer-to-peer platforms are creating a space for consumers to unleash their creativity, it’s also doing something much more important for big brands. When consumers become co-creators in the brand experience, they become much more likely to buy into the experience they just invested their time in. It’s a win-win situation — but a particularly big win for brands.

Advanced scalability. Marketing through a collaborative economy platform makes it possible to run several marketing campaigns in different countries simultaneously. Technology brings marketing experts from different countries that have the expertise and knowledge of the country and culture they’re from. Thus, the odds of a successful campaign that is truly localized to the target market are higher.

Cost effectiveness. There is no need to pay project managers, marketing coordinators and other staff for supervision. Brands achieve desired ROI from the execution of the campaigns, directly from the platform, without the supervision link. The reduction of staff is proportional to the curtailing of expenditure.

Control of marketing campaigns. The sharing economy enables businesses to have 24/7 access to marketing campaigns: It’s easy to track progress and adjust the parameters and cost of a campaign, which is nearly impossible to do in traditional marketing agencies.

For example, in order to execute a campaign in Tokyo, a brand may reach a marketing agency in New York, which will pro-source a marketing professional located in Tokyo. The collaborative economy model eliminates the redundant link between a brand and a marketer. On the supply side, marketing professionals find they have more control in dedicated marketplaces, as they are able to work whenever they want, wherever they want and on whatever subject they want.

But along with the advantages of collaborative economy models, there are, of course, challenges. Trust is a barrier to any collaborative economy business, although there is some discourse around that.

People have already allowed strangers to drive them home or to clean their houses. In the marketing context, clients will need to be able to trust that new collaborative platforms can ensure quality work that is aligned with brand, tone, etc. Today’s technology can solve these trust issues through investment in comprehensive vetting procedures, including social proof, peer review and gamification mechanisms.

Communication is another aspect that deserves special attention. Businesses have to clearly state their expectations to marketers in order to get the ROI they expect. It is a simple rule that applies everywhere.

The “we’ve always done it this way” mentality may be another potential obstacle. As businesses work with marketing professionals coming from different backgrounds, they have to get used to the idea that certain tasks can be performed differently, and that the result can be good, if not better.

The sharing economy is making waves in the marketing industry. If the potential challenges are managed appropriately, it may not be too long before we find ourselves in a world where online marketing platforms, based on the sharing economy, are more potent than traditional marketing agencies.