This post is also on Huffington Post. The first item ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. Startled that someone had bid for the broken item eBay’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, contacted the bidder to ask whether he understood that the laser pointer for which he had bid $14.83 was in fact broken? The bidder responded: ‘Yes, I’m a collector of broken laser pointers’. It was late September 1995. Omidyar realized that he was onto something big. By the end of the next year the value of all goods sold on eBay had reached $7.2 million.
This, however, is a trap for entrepreneurs. The market appears to have a niche for anything – but this is illusory. There is a three sided problem that can derail a product. I spoke last night at a startup event and introduced a few thoughts on what these are. Microphone problems prevented me from making my point as well as I would have liked, so here, in text, are the three sides to the product conundrum. Continue reading
Owjo, the social commerce startup where I worked as evangelist/marketer/product guy, had a big problem. Its offering was so big, and so potentially transformative, that prospective customers couldn’t get a quick grasp of it. Part of my job was to break the product down, so that discrete offerings could be orientated to specific markets. The first fruit of my labour to be released is the concept of “Peer-to-Peer Retail”. It is being introduced in my piece “Peer-to-Peer Retail / The power of sharing” in this coming issue of the quarterly Contagious Magazine (out this week). The concept behind Peer-to-Peer Retail is that social marketing and commerce should not just be about likes, they should be about an entirely new system of retail distribution and customer acquisition, driven by more by the customer than the brand itself. This is not a small idea.
ComScore’s recent report The Power of Like showed that when a brand succeeds in getting many ‘likes’ on Facebook this translates into sales. The researchers gathered data to show that Starbucks fans and their friends spend more in the cafe than average, and that fans and friends of fans of Southwest Airlines, another surveyed brand, were far more likely to visit its official site than the general internet population. The third brand surveyed, Bing, was used 68 percent more times by fans than non- fans. The message is that getting ‘liked’ by users on Facebook translates to sales. But this is only half of the equation. The idea behind ‘Peer-to-Peer Retail’, and which I saw within Owjo’s technology the first moment I was introduced to it, is that marketing must go beyond what ComScore call ‘The Power of Like’ to Continue reading