Month: September 2008

It isn’t just how far. It’s how.

VRM is a horizontal idea — making the customer into a platform for business — that will support progress in many different vertical areas: retailing, health care, travel, governance, music, public media… and that’s just part of the short list we’ve been talking about over the past few months.

Every so often we get a progress report. Such is the case with 1000 Miles To Go For The Enterprise And True Customer Relationships, by Chris Carfi. A sample: Perhaps the easiest thing to point out is that it’s still 100% focused on the sales team, and implicitly views the customer as the enemy, or at least simply the next transaction.

We can’t fix CRM from the inside. What we need is to fix customers, by giving them tools that make them more than slaves that companies “acquire”, “capture”, “retain” and otherwise “own”. And more than “resources” as well. As it says here, our reach needs to exceed their grasp. That’s the challenge. To meet it we need inventions that mother the necessity.

We don’t have those yet. But we’re working on them.

VRM in the Financial Times

Making customers more revealing is a fresh piece in today’s Financial Times. It was written by Alan Mitchell, who has been an advocate of VRM since long before it acquired that acronym. An excerpt: “As individuals increasingly use digital data to organise and manage their lives, they will demand software tools and services to help them gather, store, protect, analyse and use this data efficiently.”

There’s more there. Read on.

Meanwhile, here’s a bonus link on S-curves and’better buyers’.

Building the Intention Economy

VRM is part of the Intention Economy I first wrote about here. The gist:

The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made. You don’t need advertising to make them.

The Intention Economy is about markets, not marketing. You don’t need marketing to make Intention Markets.

The Intention Economy is built around truly open markets, not a collection of silos. In The Intention Economy, customers don’t have to fly from silo to silo, like a bees from flower to flower, collecting deal info (and unavoidable hype) like so much pollen. In The Intention Economy, the buyer notifies the market of the intent to buy, and sellers compete for the buyer’s purchase. Simple as that.

The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect. Those virtues, however, are earned by sellers (as well as buyers) and not just “branded” by sellers on the minds of buyers like the symbols of ranchers burned on the hides of cattle.

The Intention Economy is about buyers finding sellers, not sellers finding (or “capturing”) buyers.

So here’s SpringWise, telling us about , and its new service . Not sure it’s a breed of VRM, but since it’s in the same Intention marketplace, I thought it was worth a mention.

VRM catch-up

I just added VRM Hub Blog to the ‘roll on the right. Lots going on there, as in the Hub itself. Of special note are Ownership of data, privacy policies and other VRM creatures and Whose data is it anyway? In those Adriana unpacks some of what she’s slso been posting to the ProjectVRM list. Adriana also posts her own notes from the latest meeting.

Jay Deragon asks, Does Disequilibrium Precede Disruption?

In Venn and the Art of Data Sharing, Eve Maler presents this useful graphic:

She explains,

VRM partly involves what could be called restriction of data flow — undoing vendors’ grip on users’ info in a way that’s familiar to proponents of privacy-enhanced and user-controlled IdM. But other VRM scenarios involve enhancement of individuals’ opportunities to share personal information, for example by issuing a personal RFP to potential vendors. As Doc Searls has said, VRM is “personal first and social second”, so it seems to have a closer kinship with digital identity but could provide new social opportunities as well.

Eve does a good job describing how VRM can get social while not subordinating to social networking, its scenarios or its technologies. The same goes for VRM and identity. This last point is especially significant in respect to a pair of upcoming identity events: next week’s Digital ID World (DIDW), and the Internet Identity Workshop () coming up on November 10-12 (and about which Phil Windley says more here). VRM can contribute to identity conversation and tech development — and even be part of that work — without being a subset of that work. I’ll be talking more about this in my keynote at DIDW this coming week.

By the way, mark your calendars for the next VRM Workshop (VRM2008b), scheduled for the day after IIW in the Bay Area. The location is not yet determined. (If you have any good ideas, suggest them.)

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