Goodbye Influencers, Hello Advocates!

Influencer Marketing vs Advocacy Marketing

It’s almost unconscious knowledge, that the best forms of marketing involve a ‘word-of-mouth’ approach, that comes from trusted and recognized sources. But a popular trend among marketers, to use “Influencers” is now wearing the shine off an entire field of marketing. Mostly because the public is showing an increasing disdain for the types of not-so-cleverly embedded advertising that some so-called Influencers are pedalling.

While ‘Influence Marketing’ is a very sophisticated and effective strategy, it’s the current (and unfortunately self-named) tactic that is actually the growing problem. So rather than worry that an entire class of marketing will get dragged down by just a few bad and artificial scores, we can trust in a more natural process, where such environmental stressors are actually good for spurring new evolution. Ultimately, offering us all a much more responsive, authentic and even participative form of marketing than these lofty Influencers ever could.

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Rise of the Consumer Society

Toronto may not want to talk about its “world-class” status so soon after being globally shamed by its own mayor, or having its long-outdated subway system turned into a political football and public spectacle during our municipal elections. Some of us might already be cringing at what fate might await our creaking infrastructure and congested roadways during the 2015 Pan-Am Games. But despite the worrisome trends, we still all know how much Toronto has going for it, because we’re among all the most media-literate, tech-savvy and inter-networked people on Earth. Of course, that’s a HUGE non-exclusive club that already has many other global urbanites as members, so what could actually make us special?

Toronto the Good

In our case, we might be feeling a bit outclassed by other great cities right now, and looking for ways to get back into the game with a few good lead-off hits, and maybe get people talking about the post-season again. Something to trigger discussions in our social channels, get the attention of local businesses and politicians, and even get ideas into the mainstream media so that they can spread further afield. So in our case, we could use our social-savvy and technology-culture to actually improve our society as a whole, if not our city itself.

The key to making a good name for ourselves might be to find genuinely inspiring ways of integrating more ‘social’ into our media, and more ‘culture’ into technology. The obvious question then, is what can make Toronto’s citizens stand out among the teeming crowds of faces out there in global social-media, while also defining our place among the clouds of commercial services within the more productive spaces on the Net as well?

If Torontonians don’t have a collective online identity today, then could now be be the time to start defining a Future for ourselves instead? Surely nobody needs to remind us that we already have all the resources required to build the future, right here on our doorsteps today.

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Building Blocks for a Consumer Society

Data Marketing Universe

Most people have no real appreciation for just how automated and integrated the world of marketing has become. We generate so much data about ourselves in our daily lives, and simply presume that all the organizations that we deal with are keeping our info secure.

Yet almost nobody reads privacy statements, and realizes that there are all sorts of 3rd parties involved in the marketing of goods and services. These service providers are applying tools and techniques that will either turn us into well-defined consuming puppets, or we can inform ourselves as Consumers, to learn how to turn these tools and marketing techniques to our advantage.

In order to become better-informed Consumers, and secure ourselves against possible abuses of our identity and the the data that we generate, these are the basic building blocks for a prosperous, vital, and more resilient Consumer Society.

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Drivers of Social Consumerism

Social Consumer

So what are the primary drivers of social progress?

Aside from our maintaining our basic health (which is dependant on the the health of the environment around us), the drivers of just about everything else that we need are time and money.

If we can playfully work smarter (not harder) and productively commute faster (not longer), then we are already saving huge amounts collective time. Our spending choices are also taking on a democratic strength, that’s never existed before. If Consumers can become savvy about the tools and methods used by marketers to engage us in commerce, then we can approach the table with a better prepared hand, and learn how to turn the deals in our favour!

Ultimately, if we can combine these pursuits with a socialized approach for achieving health (not simply paying half our taxes for the institutional healthcare), then we could be well on our way to using the tools to build a prosperous social economy.

In the end, whether it’s what we make, or what someone takes, commerce is what drives the creation of prosperity.

So let’s consider some ways of getting right down to brass-taxes, by figuring out the ways that the ideals of social consciousness and democracy can be applied to commerce. While still maintaining the free-market economies that can encourage sustainable growth and innovation, while limiting the effects of any parasitic influences.

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