Seth Godin had a great post last week highlighting the need for Marketers to own the "platform" for communicating with the market. He wasn't referring to platform in terms of technology. He was talking about the old fashion "platform", the one where you've earned the right to communicate your message to a willing audience. A brand's Advocates (those who recommend the brand to others) are an ideal platform for communicating with prospects. The opportunity exists because the brand has delivered an exceptional product or service to that customer. The customer is willing to advocate. They have friends who could also use the exceptional product. And best of all they are the most trusted source of information.
Now it's up to marketers to think about their Advocates as an asset, and then deliver programs that activate that asset as a channel.
Here's a quote from Seth's post that sums up this thinking:
Now, when you buy something (that thing you used to call 'media'), you're not paying for eyeballs, you're paying for a platform. A platform you can use to build your own audience, one that you can nurture, educate and ultimately convert. You'll take care of this audience differently, measure them differently and have a different sales cycle. This isn't natural, but it works.