Social Micro-Payment: Flattr = Paid Trend mit Zukunft?

Die meisten meiner Follower und Fans werden mitbekommen haben, daß mir die Verwirklichung des Paid Service Gedankens sehr am Herzen liegt. Es wird Zeit, daß sich auch wertvoller Content vermarkten lässt.

Aber bitte nicht die Diskussion um Paid Content, sondern weiterhin zukünftig bei Paid Service bleiben. Was die Verlage nun über Jahre nicht geschafft haben, will nun Peter Sunde schaffen – Gründer von The Pirate Bay. Sein Projekt heißt Flattr.

Flattr ist ein Social Micro-Payment Vision, die bisher noch nicht am Gedankenstart war. Aber sicherlich nicht nur den Micro-Content Anbietern gefallen dürfte…

Flattr läuft in der Beta und man kann sich als Content Anbieter um einen Account bewerben – Email Adresse abgeben genügt. Gleich vorweg: Reich wird man damit nicht!

Wie funktioniert Flattr?
Der Internetnutzer zahlt einen fixen monatlichen Obulus. Wer die Seite eines Content-Anbieters besucht, findet neben den Inhalten einen Flattr-Button. Wenn der Inhalt gefällt, wird geklickt. Am Monatsende werden die Klicks des Nutzers gezählt und der eingespielte Betrag entsprechend dann unter allen Empfängern anteilsmäßig verteilt.

Spot On!
Die Idee klingt gut. Der Teufel steckt in der Umsetzung und die hat es in sich. “Every month the Flattr User pays a small fee.” Wer bezahlt denn da eigentlich? Eine Vorauszahlung für Content, den ich vielleicht gar nicht bekomme oder konsumiere? Soll das eine Art Donation-System sein? Hmmm, ist das ein gangbarer Ansatz?

Und dann mag ich gar nicht ausdenken, wie sich das auf die positiven Kommentare in Blogs und RTs auswirkt. “Hey, ich hab schon bezahlt. Lassen wir das mit dem RT oder Kommentar mal…”

Oder liege ich mit meiner Sichtweise falsch…? Nochmal die Idee ist irgendwie cool, aber auch bis zu Ende gedacht?

Augmented Reality – the future of customer service?

The customer service world around us is changing with the social web, new technologies, and especially mobile apps. The question is how much this is effecting our perspective of the real offline world around us. A new technology is evolving that is beginning to connect the offline and the virtual world from a customer perspective as it will offer some new form of customer service. The term is Augmented Reality (AR).

It is a technology that brings your visual experience and information from the web or networks together, and by doing this enriches daily situations with relevant data from the web – and in more and more cases the information provided will come from the user.

The competition for users and companies has already begun. We have augmented reality browsers like Layar, explaining us instantly which famous buildings are surrounding us. Or, another AR browser named Wikitude that starts to become one of the most-wanted AR browser apps (not only for iPhone users) and gets nominated for one award after another. With shops and service providers of all sorts can already use this cool service to make themselves visible in the offline world by geo-tagging their office or location with simple online entries. If somebody is new in a city, this person can find a laundry or the next wine shop much easier in the future – just by using an AR browser app.

There are products like T-shirts projecting interactive games with AR. Digital cosmetic mirrors where women in cosmetic shops can see in real-time what a new eye-liner or make-up is looking good at them without testing it in reality. Adidas will launch a series of shoes, each printed with an AR code on the tongue which give you access to an interactive game that changes on a montly basis. Is this the customer service of the future?

Now, just imagine what this technology could do for customer service in the future. Wouldn’t it be a positive effect when we get immediate feedback on health information about the food and drinks we consume?

The following short film, called Augmented (Hyper)Reality, shows us a world some time ahead, where augmented reality is part of our daily offline life. We see what the actor sees, from his own perspective, and get to know the oppotunities that AR might offer to our daily life. OK, if we agree to getting networked completely…

The interesting acknowledgement for companies will be the advertising part of the film – although in some way it might be shocking…

Spot On!
The complete overkill seems to be the massive sea of logos flooding our sight in the beginning. Although the above examples might seem an exaggerated view of a futuristic branding scenario, it gives some idea on how the world might change customer care in the future. And you never know if this will be really happening, or not. Today, this all might sound strange to us but just think about how common the use of artifical medical help is for us, or how often we use the navigation system in cars today.

And then, think about the options when combining location based advertising with augmented reality. This opens a complete new world of customer care…

Don’t you think?

Is customer-centric business the future?

In the last 12 years, the credo of my business life was “Customer First!”. It surprises and disappoints me when I experience poor customer service. Or when I hear from unhappy friends, colleagues or relatives telling me stories about how companies treat the centre of their business: customers.

Last week, when I was thinking about how to leverage this to a higher level, I came across a modern business strategy vision by Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School professor and author of the book “Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business“. In the following video Gulati tells us how to deliver what customers really want.

Reorienting vs. Reorganizing
Ranjay Gulati sees the fundamental changes appropriate for some movement in company processes. Customers have more information, more choices on products while companies are facing global competition. So, businesses have to think about their business (not only marketing or sales efforts!) and how it operates.

Redefining vs. Reinventing
The analysis of the customer base might show that the website is designed for male while the majority of the users might be female. So, we need to ask questions like “Who are my customers?”, “How do my customers shop?”, or “What do they really want?”.

Gulati explains with the latest success of Best Buy how women and men shop. At that point, he also hints to the upsale opportunity of recommendations.

Success for businesses, he believes, comes from “Inside-Out-Perspective”. Companies don’t have to produce everything themselves but need to make the client happy like Apple with the iPhone. 90% of the inputs are not made by Apple. The same occurs to the apps in the Apple store where Apple basically just orchestrates the customers wishes.

“Make this identity shift. I am not here to sell what I produce – I am here to solve a set of customer problems (…) and actually acting on that!”

How to get to a customer-centric business…
1. Shifting mindset: the intention to solve customer problems.
2. Sense of curiosity and humility: the wish to understand your customers.
3. Make a creative leap: the will to understand their needs.
4. Align the elements in the organization: the motivation to live the customer-centric business.

Spot On!
Interested to get your view on this modern business strategy. Let us know what you think about customer-centric business. Or do you think the social web will be leading us towards this business process anyway?

Moms access point for engagement? – Social Networks!

If your company sells children (car) seats, diapers, baby buggies or lipstick, when it comes to engaging at-home moms you may think about social networks. At least two recent reports from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) conducted by BIGresearch as well as another one conducted by Lucid Marketing and analyst Lisa Finn in the US make clear that moms are more likely to be on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter than other moms.

Moms log on almost daily
And moms are using social networks quite often. A Lucid Marketing study states that 80% of Facebooking moms log in at least daily. Even more, 30% of the responding moms login more than five times each day. Also mobile logins are quite popular: About 40% login from smartphones and computers.

The future seems to belong to Facebook. 90% of the moms say the Facebook benefit is that its easy contacting friends/family. 26% mention they like the apps (games and quizzes).

Social web for at-home moms important
– 60% more likely to use Facebook
– 42% more likely to use MySpace
– 16% more likely to use Twitter
– 15% maintain their own blogs

“Retailers who aren’t engaging customers through social media could be missing the boat” (…) “Twitter, Facebook and blogs are becoming increasingly popular with moms as they search for coupons or deals and keep in touch with loved ones. The web provides efficient, convenient ways for brands to stay in front of their most loyal shoppers and attract new ones.”
Mike Gatti, Executive Director, RAMA

Spot on!
Now, the most interesting part for marketers: 64% like ads (or feeling neutral about) on Facebook, says the Lucid Marketing study. Meaning, Facebooking moms are apparently open to get in touch with brands and marketers – if they take their wants and needs into account. The ‘social moms’ are getting engaged when they search for exclusive deals (i.e. coupons and discounts). Apart from that, these studies indicate that companies addressing moms could replace old loyalty programs. I am sure, this is a great opportunity. But don’t forget to provide sustainable conversation – moms hate it not to be taken serious in their job at-home.

News Update – Best of the Day

Is the marketers attitude towards traditional advertising changing as all marketers are looking for engagement? PepsiCo is challenging social media efforts big time this year and will not invest in an expensive super bowl campaign. A budget of 20 mio. USD will be invested into a social media campaign. Mashable has all the facts…

If you are in the wine business (or a wine ‘geek’) and looking how to improve your business ideas just listen to a nice case study and see what the social web can do for you. Joe Roberts, certified specialist of wine, shares some good information and show the challenges for big brands with social media.

The world is talking just about one new technology product: the iPad. But did you know that there is already a home-made commercial on YouTube for it? How do you like the idea of the dancing fingers?