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.