Monday, November 20, 2006

Niche brands need UGC, broad brands need ultra exclusives

While sweeping leaves on Sunday afternoon (and ain't it always the case that our best ideas come to us when we're not at our desks..?) I had some further thoughts on how media brands can be successful. This builds on my thinking posted here, about why what we traditionally regard as niche, just doesn't count anymore.

In short; We might once of thought of serving a niche as segmenting a market by 'motorcycling' or 'classic cars'. And that served well for a print-formed world. But that's not niche enough any more. Niche is 'BMW R1200GS owners'. Try searching for them on google - you'll get offered a range of sites with very expert advice - and it's all UGC. There's more about micro niching and the global play here.

The lesson is that our ultra niche products have a reliance on UGC and getting the interplay with your expert content right offers your best chance of success. It is the access to really focused expert (and that's the UGC stuff too) content and, crucially, to belonging to a community with shared needs which offers the opportunity for success. This model also meets the challenges of engagement marketing. An advert in this space (provided it is in-context and related) is unlikely to feel like an interruption - it becomes part of the user-welcomed content.

Our other opportunity for success - in broader brands - is to offer ultra exclusives. And this must be content genuinely not available anywhere else. Users are prepared to pay for this because they can't get it for free.

For brands like these we have to recognise that users only want to pay once. They don't want to buy the magazine, then pay for access to the same content on the web or via mobile - new and different and (again) exclusive content - ok. Same old thing again - why would you?

However, there are place-shifting opportunities for content you've already paid for once - ie buy the mag and get an access code to see it on your pc or mobile (content where you want it). Where's the revenue in that? Consider engagement marketing techniques - if the user wants to access your content at different locations what are the new opportunities that creates and how could we serve the consumer better by meeting those demands?

I guess for long term strategies you have to consider - how are you going to retain ultra-exclusives when the whole world is a blogger?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?