Victus Spiritus


Personalization & Market Influencers

09 Jul 2009


Guy Kawasaki Exudes Influence


We automatically personalize our social interactions. Different friends and associates require us to treat them with customized engagement. We are far more familiar in our language topics and tone with good friends. New acquantences require a more cordial but neutral tone and interaction.

Businesses are now becoming more capable of customizing their products and solutions to each customer. There are some incredible automated systems which allow even small businesses to personalize their products to huge user bases. This is most visible within Internet based companies.

Some great examples of this growing trend of customization are friendfeed, twitter, and alltop. Alltop allows us to aggregate all the feeds we are interested in, and view the feeds others follow customized to our liking. For friendfeed and twitter we can grab portions of the application and host it on our own web site. We can follow who we wish, and engage with those who follow us as we choose.

Chief Influencers

In fact anyone can access publicly available social data to learn about user communities. In each group there are influential leaders who continually redefine the edges of their crowds. By identifying these network hubs, businesses can learn about what their customers are most in need of. By personalizing a product to an influence leader, the community they lead has a strong potential for adoption.

As it turns out, market influencers and leaders have a large amount of public data available about their tastes, and needs. This makes the task of intelligence gathering straight forward. There is still the complex task of sifting through this information to best understand what are key value discriminants for a given market influencer.

In order to sell an early adopting market influencer, a business has to learn what that leader does, and then determine what would make that person's life easier and more efficient.

I recently had a purchase concern about upgrading to the iPhone 3Gs from the original. Even though I initially decided against it (and said so in the recording below). With wifi speed available I didn't notice a big reduction in web page load times (my major criteria for upgrading). I changed my mind after realizing how often I'm without wifi bandwidth, and how much time I could save overall with the upgrade.

Not only does marketing have to be keyed into the chief influencers, they have to have a direct feedback connection to design and engineering. Having a scaleable product available at varied function and cost breakpoints allows businesses to capture a greater market share. In a very straightforward way this is a form of customization, to the consumers expenditure limit. Allowing easy upgrades between levels is a great way to build up the connection between consumers and companies. Freemium is an example of this type of price split, but geared toward wide spread adoption and reducing the ease of entry for competitors.

My most important product discriminant, speed and reaction time. I'm even willing to lose a bit of functionality to go faster, and I would wager I'm not alone.