Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Share Economy and Sacrifice Marketing

"Sure, I understand what you say about universal content utopia and business karma, Vaspers," Slow To Leap said.

I frowned in a professional doctor sort of way.

"But I'm a special case," he continued. "It costs a lot of money, time, and effort to produce my music, and to make CDs of it. I'm not about to throw away my creative work, just to try to please some passing kids who'll just use my music for their own purposes. Free mp3 albums and net labels, it sounds insane to me."

"You're not special, you're slow, sluggish," I fired back. "A psycho-perfectionist who remains firmly dissatisfied with your own output. Nothing is ever good enough to try to distribute or market. You're stalling as a way to avoid criticism, bored looks, and apathy from hostile, jaded music consumers. You're hiding in a pseudo-overachiever disguise, so prevent the pain of other musicians and record companies laughing at your mediocrity and lack of imagination."

Share Economy means you cheerfully and abundantly give away FREE samples, FREE products, FREE information, FREE services, FREE functionalities, FREE code, FREE consulting, FREE help, boon or benefit of some sort.

Until now, I've been calling it Share Economy. Not based on Martin L. Weitzman's The Share Economy: Conquering Stagflation, in which share economy is described as a two wage system, salary and profit-sharing, to stave off bad economic conditions and avoid downsizing.

No, I refer primarily to (1) you share freely and abundantly (2) others share with you (3) you and others improve due to sharing (4) you and others, separately or collectively, develop Paid Content/Product/Services to market to those who have been flooded with high value FREE Content/Product/Services.

You know what you're doing? You're sacrificing something. Time. Energy. Production. Distribution. In a greedy Old Economy outlook, that stuff is wasted by giving things away for free. To a psycho-capitalist, free merchandise is stolen, it's stealing profit from you, free is destructive, and self-defeating.

But we know better.

We know that nothing goes viral faster than FREE.

And once you go viral, then you've got a pre-prepared audience, who loves you, and wants more, at whatever cost. Then you can continue the free floodings, and also offer Paid Stuff for more advanced users, or for more complex applications.

You sacrifice the FREE to attract the buyers of the PAID.

It's a magic formula that actually works. Try it.


Loren Feldman said...

Great post. Very good advice.

CK said...

I love your coining it the Share Economy and have been spreading it like wildfire to clients and colleagues.

Contribution--be it our time, smarts, software, art is our responsibility. It's really the way I forge trust these days.

Love this post. Keep beating this drum, we're listening.