COMMENDATIONS: THE DIRECT PATH TO COMMERCE
By integrating the content and conversation hubs, a new center emerges: the community hub (Figure 14.4
). I call this the epicenter, but it really represents equilibrium, a middle point between inside-out and outside-in marketing. At this point, a true partnership-based or win-win outcome represents possible: commerce.
The “Epicenter”: Community Hub (Activation)
Source: © Joseph Jaffe.
In this shared space, the final piece of the puzzle resides, namely peer-to-peer (one-to-one) and/or community (many-to-many) recommendations, specifically in the form of referrals. Somewhere in the epicenter of content creation and peer-to-peer interaction (the conversation) is the place where word of mouth and brand marketing peacefully coexist to produce a mutually beneficial result.
On the most basic level, a commendation is a modern-day version of affiliate marketing, in the physical world, represented by the familiar Tupperware party or, on a much more organized scale, multilevel marketing as made famous by Amway. Affiliate marketing is even more pronounced in the digital world, where an explosion of banners, buttons, and text links appear to promote individual authors, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs—but really just make Amazon.com
, eBay, and Google very, very rich. Even in the emerging and nascent virtual space, an array of experiments ...