Product Blogs, a new business model

My colleague, Loic Le Meur, is interviewed by Shel Israel for their upcoming book on business blogging. Loic shares his story about a T-shirt fanatic who built a community of like-minded T-shirt fans via his blog. His site is now a business which turns the traditional “we-design, you-buy” commerce model inside out (sorry about the pun, couldn’t resist) and solicits his customers for design ideas which they then all vote on. This virtually guarantees a buyer.

I use this t-shirt guy as an example to large corporations, because it shows what can be done in large corporations. They always laugh at me at first. They say, this is a geek writing about T-shirts. I say, no, wait. Our t-shirt guy puts the customer at the center of everything he does in the company. He realized very quickly through the comments that the customer had more ideas about the products than he did. It’s not just about feedback. The customers design the product. I took this idea to L’Oreal. L’Oreal says, we are this global corporation and you bring us a guy who designs t-shirts? I tell them this is the future of your e-commerce. Your customer will be in the center of it all. This goes back to “markets are conversations.” The t-shirt guy has not put a single euro into advertising. It is all word-of-mouth. The customer does everything. He is merely organizing it. What’s important is how the blog moves customers to the center of the organization, rather than over on the edge of it.

Interview on Naked Conversations

3 thoughts on “Product Blogs, a new business model

  1. Kathleen

    Interesting to imagine InfoPros voting on their favorite features… Certainly, the product development cycle upside down. thanks for the ideas…

    Reply
  2. iankennedy

    Good point Kathleen. Having been there in a previous life, it’s important to strike a balance between developing something for the mainstream while also keep the tool useful and interesting enough for the early-adopters and power users. For more on this balance, see David Jacob’s comments on his blog.

    One way we are able to serve both masters on our products is by having a core that can be extended via plugins or other css & templating trickery. The base application is intuitive enough for the mainstream to pick it up but the extra features such as domain mapping and embedded advertising or tracking codes are within reach for those that want it.

    Reply

Leave a comment