Digital Marketing and the Sharing Economy

Posted on April 4, 2015 by


We * Is BetterI met Brian Bolton in 2009 at the best digital marketing conference ever, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that he started a new social community and collaboration platform specifically developed for independent digital marketing, design and technology talent to connect with each other and be found by companies looking for their expertise. This week’s #SMChat is about social communities and the “sharing economy.” Brian’s explanation and questions are below:

By now everyone has heard about the “sharing” or “collaboration” economy. Basically, it’s the repurposing of surplus time, skills, or goods by making that surplus available to others to hire, rent, or buy. It’s earliest incarnation was really with sites like CraigsList and eBay, but now we see it on display everywhere with examples like Uber (ride hailing), Airbnb (accommodations), ZipCar (automobile sharing), CoachUp (athletic instruction), Chegg (college textbooks), and TaskRabbit (menial labor).  Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s also out there in the professional freelance world with web platforms like oDesk, Elance, and 99designs.

In each case, there is an implicit offer that provides the customer with an alternative consumption model. I could buy a car, but I choose to share one. I could buy a Chanel handbag but I choose to get a different bag on loan every month. I could buy a vacation house, or stay at an established hotel, but I choose to rent someone’s personal property.

What is also true is that the predominate transaction model in all these case is one to one. I need a ride, I need a room, I need a logo.

But what about more complex needs that can’t be delivered by a single individual with surplus time, skills or goods – or projects that require “complex Orchestration”? In other words, enterprise projects not tasks? And as project sophistication increases, how do you ensure that appropriate teams of skilled talent are brought together to address the needs of the customer, and how is this process managed or “orchestrated”?

That’s the problem we’re trying to solve in the digital marketing world with a new “sharing economy” platform called Digaboom. Digaboom is a collaborative community platform that connects the best independent talent in digital marketing and matches the ideal team to a company’s project needs. What we’re really building is a social company – sort of a cross between LinkedIn, oDesk, and eHarmony. But entirely focused on digital marketing, teams and projects.

And for those digital marketers not interested in the “marketplace” piece – Digaboom is also a community platform dedicated to helping anyone in digital marketing network, connect and collaborate with other digital marketing pros whether you’re a web designer, a marketing automation expert, a content marketer, or a developer – freelancing, employed full-time, or otherwise.

Sharon has graciously offered this month’s marketing SMChat as a discussion platform around this concept. (Please note that the questions on Twitter will be abbreviated to fit the 140 character format.)

  1. What do you think are general industry trends in digital marketing and marketing technology that would make a platform like Digaboom a success or a failure?
  2. Have you used any of the freelance websites out there (oDesk, Elance, 99Designs, etc.) either as a job seeker or as an employer. Was your experience good or bad? What would make these sites better?
  3. Does LinkedIn meet the needs of digital marketers – not just freelancers, but also professionals working in a corporate marketing department or agency? What works and what could make it better?
  4. Would online collaboration with “virtual colleagues” be helpful? Under what scenarios would you imagine using a collaboration platform that would let you instantly connect with other “virtual colleagues”? Imagine more than just threaded conversations. Imagine opening a video call, a shared screen, or an online whiteboard session.
  5. What do you think would be the greatest obstacle for a company to consider using a platform like Digaboom to source a digital marketing team for projects? Why do you think a company would use a platform like Digaboom?
  6. What types of projects do you think would be most suitable for a platform like Digaboom? What do you think would be the upper limit that a company would be willing to outsource on a platform like Digaboom?

What questions do you have about social communities, collaboration and how they fit into the sharing economy? Please leave them in the comments below and/or join us on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 1PM ET for the #SMchat Twitter chat – hope to see you there!

Posted in: Marketing