In terms of economic signaling, think about which is worth more:
- A ready-to-sell-something message from an advertiser
- A ready-to-buy-something message from a customer
Of course it depends. A company can use an ad to signal many people at once, and to signal far more than a readiness to sell something. And now, with advanced analytics and Big Data, an ad can be personalized to a high degree: timed and targeted to reach a customer at exactly the right place and time. (Or that’s the idea, anyway.) Customers are also separate individuals. They may only be worth something to a company in aggregate. So we’re talking about lots of variables here.
But let’s look at a single vendor and a single customer for a moment, and say you’re the vendor. What would a ready-to-buy signal from a customer be worth to you? The answer today is called the qualified leads business. Search for that and you’ll get lots of results, most of which pitch you on paying for those leads.
But what if the leads were free, or close to that price? They are with intentcasting. (In Hunter becomes the prey, Scott Adams calls this “broadcast shopping.”) With intentcasting, customers advertise their wants and needs. For vendors, listening to the signals is free.
From the list of VRM development efforts on the ProjectVRM wiki, here’s the current list of intentcasting efforts:
|AskForIt † – individual demand aggregation and advocacy|
|Body Shop Bids † – intentcasting for auto body work bids based on uploaded photos|
|Have to Have † – “A single destination to store and share everything you want online”|
|Intently † – Intentcasting “shouts” for services, in the U.K.|
|Innotribe Funding the Digital Asset Grid prototype, for secure and accountable Intentcasting infrastructure|
|OffersByMe † – intentcasting for local offers|
|Prizzm †- social CRM platform rewarding customers for telling businesses what they want, what they like, and what they have problems with|
|RedBeacon † – intentcasting locally for home services|
|Thumbtack † – service for finding trustworthy local service providers|
|Trovi intentcasting; matching searchers and vendors in Portland, OR and Chandler, AZ†|
|Zaarly † intentcasting to community – local so far in SF and NYC|
I’m sure it’s far from complete or up-to-date, but you can see some of what’s already going on. I guarantee that a lot more will be happening here in 2013 and beyond.