At the start of this year to stimulate some thoughts around marketing, I offered via my blog Pay What You Want marketing advice - a world first (at least my quick Googling confirmed this). Not an entirely new model - just a new application.
It went amazingly well, the message spread quite quickly (and internationally). So well in fact a few other companies in the US took it up as a way to initiate conversations with potential clients.
Further a few local companies (including a restaurant) gave the initiative a go.
The basis was: ask me any question you'd like to that I can respond to in an email and just pay me what you think it's worth to you.
For a baseline I indicated what the market rate for something like that was.
The resulting queries were quite a mix from basic questions – "how do I
measure revenue through my website?" through to – "how would you introduce Possum Fur product into this market?"
From my point of view it was excellent. I got a huge collection of challenges to really push my creative and strategic skills. I know some of the participants got a kick out of it too.
The interesting thing was when it came to the pay what you want part.
Americans always paid, without a doubt, and interestingly a range of prices.
From my point of view it really demonstrated that they paid what they thought it was worth. Neat - I was stoked.
On the flipside, though, Kiwis never ever paid! All that came through was a raft of excuses (if they said anything), some offered to pay later, others didn't even indicate towards paying. I didn't terribly mind but thought it was quite interesting.
You could argue that my model appealed only to cheapskates - yet that wasn't reflected in any of the enquiries from Australia, Europe and the US.
I suggest it's a demonstration of value. As the delivery was intellectual (not a physical product) Kiwis struggle to ascertain the value.
We see such behaviour with our obsession with houses - we can see and touch that.
Yet knowledge that generates revenue isn't valued as much. Questioned by my business banker on my assets (much of them web based) they had no interest in the value of them due to the fact that they were 'virtual'. This is converse to other markets.
As Kiwis we need to make that switch, to learn the value of acquiring and applying intellectual property. Simply paying for ten hours or five widgets isn't going to be enough. We need to learn to exchange value.
If we can make that switch then we can increase our intellectual exports, productivity and - most importantly - catch up with Australia!
This is where our future lies - in exchanging our hugely valuable creative knowledge in a global market.
It's a tired argument but if you have one focus in 2010 - it should be on capitalising on your intellectual property.
* Ben Young from bwagy is the author of The Best Ideas are Free.By Ben Young