5 Reasons Why The Sharing Economy Will Become Marketing’s Biggest Customer
Earlier this year, Forbes contributor Steven Ufford posted the following optimistic glimpse to the future of the sharing economy:
The sharing economy is growing and growing fast — potentially doubling in the next 12 months. Right now, nearly a quarter of the population of the U.S., the U.K. and Canada engages in some form of economic sharing, whether that’s renting a spare bedroom on Airbnb, a spare driveway on JustPark, a prom dress from Rent The Runway, a neighbor’s car through RelayRides or giving away unwanted stuff on Yerdle.
To date the sharing economy has created 17 companies with revenues of over a billion dollars. And here’s why this controversial economic powerhouse is going to become the favorite of marketers worldwide:
1. The sharing economy’s biggest players are visionaries
This means these entrepreneurs are willing and able to spend all the money it takes to create marketing campaigns that are original, engaging, and will break new ground in the advertising game. USA Today reporter Nancy Trejos writes:
Business travelers are embracing the sharing economy to such an extent that traditional travel venues and hotel chains have all but surrendered and joined forces with them to protect their interests. It’s not just the money, it’s the prestige that comes with it that is giving the sharing economy more clout than anyone since J.P. Morgan.
2. The rise of the micro-entrepreneur
In his book The Business of Sharing, Alex Stephany, CEO of JustPark, says there are millions of new micro-entrepreneurs being mobilized by the sharing economy right now. Each one of them is a potential client to a start up business operating in this space. The trick is going to be finding ways to reach them, before the ‘network effect’ takes hold.
Sites like Peers.org make tracking new sharing economy businesses today, easier than ever.
3. Millennials are buying into the sharing economy by the millions
Both as clients and as entrepreneurs, millennials are at the forefront of the sharing economy movement. This is a huge demographic, as the CEO of JDP, James O’Connell, explains:
While Baby Boomers are catching on to the massive potential being unlocked, it’s the Millennials and a younger demographic that are currently driving growth in the sharing economy. They are also the ones refining it and building its trust, via many millions of online reviews.
4. The sharing economy and the barter economy will soon merge into one and the same
They are almost the same now; but barter has a longer history — since the introduction of the World Wide Web itself 25 years ago. Financial bloggerBen Schiller writes:
The barter economy relies heavily on social media advertising campaigns, to the extent that companies like TradeYa spend nearly a quarter of their yearly profits on marketing campaigns. And that is not going to change anytime soon!
5. The hold outs need softening up
“There’s no fool like an old fool” runs the ancient saying. While Baby Boomers have always done a little bartering on the neighborhood level, the thought of participating in a sharing economy on a global level is not easy for them to either accept or understand. They’ll need to be softened up by some major marketing campaigns before they start buying into it. So says marketing professor Dave Weineke of Northeastern University:
The sharing economy is like the latest tech devices for those over fifty; it’s going to be difficult for them to master, but they can sense it will benefit them greatly. So they’re ready to learn about it from quality content marketing sources.