Sunday, December 02, 2012

Broadcasting Preference in the Intention Economy

One key dimension of the future is the presence of multiple currencies. A multicurrency society is already starting to develop where traditional monetary-related currencies are being supplemented with other currencies like reputation, attention, intention, ideas, affinity, preference, health, and resource access.

A book published in May 2012, Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge, suggests mechanisms to make intent as a currency more explicit, monetized, and implementable. The book extends the author’s previous ideas about vendor relationship management (VRM), which is how consumers might more effectively manage their relationship with vendors.

The issue is that corporations and other entities spend $1.5 trillion per year on marketing to create ‘a bad model of you’ and your purchasing intent (‘50% of marketing dollars are wasted but we don’t know which 50%’). On the other hand, you as a consumer may have trouble defining your demand, and finding and tailoring products and services in the midst of fending off unwanted publicity and inaccurate personalized advertising.

One potential solution for decreasing friction in the narrowband way that vendors and consumers currently interact is having consumers directly communicate their interests and intent. Intent communication could be accomplished through fourth party exchanges, websites like EmanciPay, where consumers may escrow their intention to buy with a down payment of funds to the site (fourth parties are truly independent intermediaries and advocates for the consumer as opposed to current third parties which are more of an accessory to second parties (e.g.; vendors)). Short of making a financial pledge, many other fourth party sites could accommodate less-defined customer specifications for desired products and services.

The Intention Economy then, is where consumers intentcast (e.g.; broadcast their intent) for products and services, even and especially at inchoate and automated levels, so that vendors can be responsive and continue their expertise in constructing solutions that anticipate consumer demand. Some companies are getting onto this bandwagon, like IBM with their "Chief Executive Customer" program, but like any important change and successful implementation, mindset shifts may be required, and tools must be extremely easy to use – where is Twitter for VRM?!

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