Tag Archives: pricing

Social Media Monitoring: Skyped!

 Just Signal is a company that has developed an application bringing social media monitoring to business that is cost effective. They’re not alone. Trendr is another such company that gets you started on $0 per month. Their pricing options include Gold, Platinum and Elite services, where at a maximum entry point of $999/month, provide unlimited reports and analytics on as many trending topics or brands as your heart desires. This pricing schema compares favourably with providers such as Radian6 and Sysomos, firms widely associated with a SaaS model.

Let’s be clear – I’m not passing judgement on the quality of the deliverables, their implied go-to-market approach or pricing model. Instead, this is about how the market has changed so much in the past year with the dramatic increase in providers of some form of WOM (word-of-mouth) monitoring application. Back in 2006, there were roughly a dozen or so as tracked by Forrester Research, today they number well over a hundred.

New supply, even in a growing market for services, has an affect on pricing. Like the long distance market of old, established carriers, for a number of very complex reasons, have seen 2 things happen over the last tens years: customers are constantly switching providers and they are shopping on price. After all, most long-distance carriers deliver very similar perceived value. Now there’s Skype. Free. With over 500 million registered users, Skype would be the world’s largest carrier company, according to Morgan Stanley.

Is the Social Media Monitoring industry moving to a similar situation, at or close to free? Will the “Skype” provider emerge as a viable alternative to paid monitoring services. Maybe. Maybe not.

What’s next? Segmentation for one. Monitoring companies will, in my estimate, evolve into 3 streams: Software, Business Intelligence/CRM and Business Insights. They will be priced accordingly and align functionally with the call centre, public relations, marketing & branding  and strategy & innovation. Think in terms of an overlay to  service response, campaign execution and business planning respectively.

Did I mention Google?

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Advertisements

Branding is a Beautiful Thing

Coffee Bar

Gas Bar

Whether it’s gasoline for your car or coffee for your stomach, it really is fascinating how branding can take ordinary commodities and transform them into deeply embedded symbols of North American culture. What’s most remarkable is how we can create extentions of those brands that command premium prices without really changing the product’s essense in a material way.

Take coffee for example. While you can walk into your neighborhood Starbucks and order from a menu of many dozens of coffees, you can also order something like a Venti Mocha Valencia for something around $4.30. This is equivalent to buying roughly two gallons of regular grade gasoline. The alternative of course, would be to drop into your local McDonald’s and McCafé your day for about $1.25. Not as fancy perhaps but dare you tell the difference in a blind taste test?

Speaking of which, there’s bottled water. Take a bottle of Poland Spring water. Nice packaging, looks clean and pure and takes you to pine forests likely somewhere near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. At about $2.00 a bottle it seems like a bargain when compared say, to Ty Nyant, direct from Wales. At only $4.50 per bottle, it has been described as “smooth but bland…and the bottle makes a nice vase.” Fact of the matter, at least here in Toronto, Canada, tap water is many times purer…and free! Yes, a true ‘freemium’ product indeed.

So here’s the wrap: With or without social media, televison, mobile apps, the Internet or whatever medium you can think of, there’s nothing like good branding. Good branding takes the most ordinary and pervasive commodities and transforms them into something that we ‘must have’. In fact, some of us like to be seen using the brand (I’ve heard that some people carry around their Starbucks cups like fashion accessory, which is fine by me). Isn’t it wonderful that we can take something as featureless as water and get people to generate massive gross margins for us. Next time you hear someone squawk about an increase in the price of gasoline, ask them ” …and just what kind of coffee do you drink?”