IOD: The Ultimate Customer Pimping Company


Jackie, from CoC, responded to my quick comments about open source marketing and touched on how Tivo was pimping out their customers as opposed to letting them share in common marketing goals. Here is what she said:

“TiVo *could* have open-sourced their marketing by setting a goal for the number of subscribers needed (say, by quarter) and then asking the members of TiVoCommunity.com for help in reaching the goal. I’m convinced that a number of these loyal customers would have personally committed to closing a specific number of sales themselves, and reported them in. They would have also brainstormed lots of grassroots marketing ideas and perhaps even volunteered to lead them for their community.

This “open-source marketing” approach can definitely work for commercial companies, but only if they are selling something remarkable and are humble enough to cede some control to customers. “

These comments are spot on, IMO, but I couldn’t help thinking about the opposite approach.  About a company that would build itself beyond a core by financially rewarding customers for any free marketing, bugs submitted, code fixed, features added. Maybe the lowest reward would be the software itself or small discounts, but the more a customer contributes the more they start to share in % profits of the company.  I don’t think it would work, but it was my idea of the day.

Comments (4)

  1. AT says:

    Josh. Do not blame messenger – but there is very low activity in your blog recently. Only a few postings, no comments … Something not good.

    As for "financially rewarding customers" – I’ve discussed this with you a long time ago.

    Why you are unable to create an example everybody will follow? This will be much better that giving advices.

  2. josh ledgard says:

    Not sure what you are getting at. As far as post numbers, if I cared, I’ll have almost 12 in October. My personal goal (when I started blogging) was 3 posts per week. Mission accomplished.

    I’ve also been maintaining the powertoys blog (top 3 on blogs.msdn) and the new devdiv status site on channel9 that will have a lot more content in the weeks to come. I’m actually still shocked my own blog is in the MSDN top 20 still, but it is.

    Not sure where you get the "no comments" piece. I’m surprised at what posts get comments, but my last post had 8 comments. I’ve never been high in comments like my wife’s blog.

    I’m not trying to set an example with my blog. I think the people blogging @ Microsoft are beyond needing that. I do give people advice internally, but I don’t think I have to set trends here. I’ve always blogged for my own reasons… to organize my own thoughts, be a personal information storage medium, help customers when I can, and bounce ideas off of people.

  3. AT says:

    Sorry. Possibly I’m wrong.

    I was under impression of your past activity level during March- June 2004 (27, 31, 36, 39) postings.

    As well – I was under impression of your SlashDoted comments 😉

    Can you as "chief community evangelist" create some stats/charts for blogs.msdn.com?

    As for my question about creating an example – it was related to "financially rewarding customers".

    Up to date you did not "reward" customers in any way. Even in such a simple way – fixing this crappy /ProductFeedback asp code.

    I’ve to save all my comments in notepad before posting. Why? Because otherwise in 50% product feedback will loose them and show me empty "editFeedback.aspx" form instead of storing them in your database. I can even assist Hua with his aspx.

    This is an "reward" example I was asking for. Blogging is good, openness too – but you must move on.

    P.S> As for openness – check out http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/robots.txt file.

    And read my suggestion http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/viewfeedback.aspx?feedbackid=FDBK17266

    I do not understand reasons why you hide ProductFeedback from search engines.

  4. josh ledgard says:

    I’ll post some stats this week on the C9 devdiv site. As far as the PF site is concerned they will be making fixes an updates continually in the months to come.