Your Ad Here

Free Articles: Free Online Articles Directory
Automotive | Business | Computers | Entertainment | Finance | Food | Health | Home and family | Internet

Your Ad Here
Free Articles

Legal | Science | Self Improvement | Shopping | Society | Sports | Technology | Travel | Writing

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Rise of the "Fanmium" Products

Social media has led to a wealth of new ways of thinking about business. One of the most interesting, and most discussed, is the ceding of control of the market message to our audiences. While we as marketers may want to get out there and promote the value of our products and services, the most effective way by far is to have our audience do it for us.

This leads to an interesting paradox. We as marketing teams have energy and resources that we want to devote to making noise about our products and services, there is no longer an easy path to spending those resources in order to get the desired results. Covert tactics to pay people to write nice things about you are usually discovered quickly and backfire badly.

The "Fanmium" Strategy

However, there is one technique that I think is interesting and has merit; the “fanmium” strategy. This is a twist on the “freemium” product strategy, but involves giving away licenses of your product (or an equivalent) to those who provide coverage. Coverage could be anything from blog posts, becoming a fan on Facebook, or joining an online community.

I have seen this strategy being used from time to time, but most recently came across this strategy being used by a company called Cerebrata, which offers a product called Cloud Storage Studio. In various discussions on Windows Azure forums, I had seen mentions of the use of Cloud Storage Studio, probably coming across references to it 6 or 7 times. Finally, I had a problem that I had seen them mentioned as providing a solution to, and I downloaded a free trial.

What caught my eye though, was the way they structured their licensing:

- A trial version, feature complete, time limited (30 days)
- A development version, feature limited
- A professional version ($49,99)
- And most interestingly, a “Fanmium” offering

To be more precise, here is what they say:

(full disclosure, I bought a full license to Cloud Storage Studio, and am doing this post only because I found the “Fanmium” concept very interesting).

In looking back on what had caused me to find Cloud Storage Studio in the first place, all of the reviews and mentions were very accurate, and none had been overstated. The product is an excellent product, and well worth the price tag (it saved me about 5 hours of work the first time I used it), and without that the strategy would not work.

The key to this strategy, I believe, is looking for honest exposure, rather than trying to buy favorable reviews. Cerebrata is very clear on their desire for honest reviews. They are, luckily, able to achieve favorable reviews on the merits of the product alone.

Looked at from all perspectives, this appears to be a very good strategy:

o $49.99 for each bit of exposure is a very reasonable price to pay
o Investing in product, rather than advertising, makes this strategy viable

o Providing an honest opinion on a product in exchange for a free license is a good deal
o $49.99 of value is not enough of an economic motivator to risk alienating the audience you have grown by providing an inaccurate review or false praise

o Finding the uses for Cloud Storage Studio in context of discussions of the problems they solve was much more helpful than high level advertising
o Free trial version allows independent assessment of product quality, regardless of reviews

What are your thoughts? Have you considered a “fanmium” offering? What do you think the constraints are on when it would/wouldn’t work in a B2B environment?

No comments: