The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge

And while the Net has already transfored business and socicety throughout the world, it has done so mostly on the supply side, with tremendous innovations in production, supply chain management, marketing, sales, and other functions.

.. But much has not yet changed.  The legal frameworks for doing business online are as absurd and broken as they were in the age of shrink-wrapped software.  Margketing and sales have made great efforts to become “conversational” and “social,” but customers in too many cases are are still “assets” to be “managed.”  Implicit in this mentality is a belief that the best customers are captive ones and that therefore a “free market” for customers means “your choice of captor.”

This twisted norm will end because free markets require free customers.



Free customers are more valuable than captive ones.


Because I am accustomed to work both as a researcher and as a writer of linky posts and essays on the Web, I include many  more footnotes than you’ll find in most other business books.

.. Many old-line business categories, such as banking and brokerage, are now considred fourth-party services, for the simple reason that they work primarily for individual customers.

Turning Customers Into Cultists

Research shows that typically, the more information consumers have, the better they are at ignoring corporate iconography. One 2014 study, for instance, found that pharmacists and physicians are three times less likely than the typical customer to buy national brands of headache medicine when cheaper store brands are available. If all consumers became as informed as medical experts, the study concluded, national headache-remedy brands would see their sales cut in half.

An economy filled with product experts would wreck certain brands, according to Itamar Simonson, a marketing professor at Stanford. Advertising thrives in markets where consumers are essentially clueless, often because quality is hard to assess before you buy the product (medicine, mattresses, wine). But on sites like Amazon or eBay, and across social media, information from other sources—ratings, reviews, comments from friends—is abundant.

.. As branding loses some of its influence as a marker of quality, savvy companies are shifting their marketing efforts ever more strongly to this other source of brand advantage—identity and community. Recently, many of the most successful new brands have been looking to an unusual but powerful source of inspiration: religious cults.

.. A number of Bay Area companies have come to incorporate this insight into their marketing strategies. In 2004, shortly after launching the restaurant-review site Yelp, the founders were struggling to grow the company. They decided to convene a gathering of about 100 power-users. The get-together “was a big success,” Ligaya Tichy, who later served as Yelp’s senior community manager, told me. “Bringing users together to share what they loved about the site led to a huge spike in activity. What we realized is that people aren’t really motivated by companies. They’re motivated by other people. We needed to get the message across: you are what makes this product cool.” The number of reviewers on the site grew from 12,000 in 2005 to 100,000 in 2006.

.. One of the hallmarks of a cult is that members unite to oppose what they see as an oppressive or illegitimate mainstream culture. Collaborative-economy companies—from Airbnb to the ride-sharing service Uber—have proved particularly savvy at exploiting this sense, and in so doing converting both merchants and consumers ..

Understanding Millennials—How do Potatoes Fit into Their Lives?

Avoiders prefer routines and packages. They want meals to be fast, quick, easy and convenient. Therefore, avoiders often eat frozen or boxed foods, and if they must cook, refer to their go-to routine of what to make. They skew a little older (late 20s) and Midwest.

Nurturers are similar to the current target (moms). They like to experiment with new recipes and cook for the taste and enjoyment of it, not for nutrition. Nurturers are looking to put something on the table that everyone will enjoy; so flavor, satisfying cravings and ease are all of upmost importance. They also skew to the Midwest.

Entertainers are foodies at home. They love to experiment with new, creative recipes that use start-from-scratch ingredients and enjoy sharing their cooking with others. Entertainers aspire to be athome gourmet chefs and find relaxation through cooking. In addition, they are also health aware and nutrition conscious.

Explorers are foodies outside of home. They want adventurous foods that are new and exciting. Explorers are health involved and watch their diets and weight; however, they are more concerned with convenience than nutrition. Explorers are likely to be male, single and living in the Northeast.

Health Seekers base all food choices on health and nutrition. They watch their diets, exercise consistently and choose natural and unprocessed foods. However, they are also looking for meals that are easy to prepare. They are more likely to be living in the West.