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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The recent announcement about Facebook going public mean a lot for marketers.  You might be asking yourself whether or not the $38 stock price is a good buy.  Personally, I think the stock price itself is meaningless.  What's significant is the fact that Facebook, much like Google, is here to stay.

It's quite conceivable that Facebook will morph and change significantly over the next few years.  But the reality is that they can.  Companies like FB and Google have something that most small companies do not - resources.  And when you combine social and marketing companies with resources, something amazing happens.  That something is innovation.

If you remember a time before Google Adwords and pay-per-click advertising, marketing was drastically different.  We were more focused on print ads, print advertising, and direct response.  At the time we didn't know how limited we were with regard to user information, behavioral data, and community.  One of the reasons marketing has changed so significantly is because large companies were in a position to bring innovations to the marketing world.

Facebook is in the same boat.  Now they have even greater resources to invest in innovation and taking the marketing community to the next level.  I don't know what they have in store but once thing is certain - they wont stand still.  Begin a public company all eyes will be on Facebook, quarter after quarter and year after year.  This pressure combined with billions in assets gives them not only the incentive to innovate but the resources as well.

It seems like everyday, small companies like Instagram and others come out of the woodwork but the reality is that they are far and few between.  Those you read about are often started in a college dorm room (where I would argue there is little or no risk) or are backed by large investors.  I think innovation would happen without these scenarios but it would take much long and the results would likely be far less interesting. 

Just as Google has brought major changes to the online world, so will Facebook.  As is true with most advertising platforms, the systems start off by copying what's already out there.  In time, they develop innovations of their own.  And finally, because the platform has so much of the addressable market, the technology is distributed and soon everyone has adopted a new advertising model.

I believe this is the trend we will see with Facebook.  Look for the blue giant to innovate and raise the bar when it comes to reaching or influencing potential customers.  They have the platform, they have the audience, and now, they have the incentive to innovate.  This is a perfect storm for once again changing how marketing is done!


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