Thinking Digital Conference 2011 – Summary of Gerd Leonhard Presentation

“Everything is moving online into ‘The Cloud’ but we still need to work out how to monetise products and services that can’t be replicated digitally.”

Read below for my summary (and personal comments) of the fantastic presentation delivered by Gerd Leonhard (www.mediafuturist.com) on Day 1 of the Thinking Digital Conference @ Sage Gateshead on 25th May 2011.

‘The People of the Cloud’ / ‘People of the Screen’ expect things to be digital first, physical next.

You can no longer ‘force’ people to buy – you now need to ‘attract’ people to buy/upgrade from the free version once they’ve used and grown to love/need it (a classic Freemium model like LinkedIn).

“When copies are free, you need to sell things that can’t be copied”, Kewing Kelly (Better Than Free).

If people expect digital copies to be free (or very low cost), it’s down to you the ‘content creator’ to work out how to sell things that can’t be replicated or copied digitally. For example, although video footage can be streamed live or broadcast after an event, you can’t digitally recreate the actual physical experience (sights, sounds, smell and touch) of being at a live music gig, conference or training session and all the feelings of excitement and interactions before, during and after which take place.

‘360o Deals’ in the Music Industry

As physical record sales continue to fall, they are increasingly seen as merely a ‘calling card’ or marketing tool for artists and bands. At the same time, live music gigs and festivals are on the up. Therefore, record labels now seek to sign new artists and bands up to ‘360o Deals’ which means that they make money on live performance fees, merchandise, advertising endorsements, mobile ringtones, tv and movie deals , not just physical and digital download record sales. People can now even pay for a recording of a live gig immediately after a gig has ended.

Authors like Seth Godin understand this. They realise that some people want exclusive, advance copies of the latest titles sent directly to their Kindle or other eReader device (either for free in return for writing reviews, helping to spread the word and creating a buzz, or for a fee which ensures they get it quicker than all ‘normal people’ (see my earlier post about ‘The Domino Project’ and ‘Rise of the Information Jockey (IJ)‘.

Meanwhile, others will still prefer the look and feel of a physical book (hardcover or paperback which both have a different cost and speed at which they can be obtained/delivered. Further still, ‘superfans’ will happily pay much higher prices for limited editions which offer something unique and special. It’s all about offering choice and giving the user/consumer what they want.

Can you divide your products or services into digital, hardcover, paperback or limited edition-type versions?

Locking stuff behind a paywall or asking them to pay upfront is a deathwish online. It doesn’t work or make any money (or as much as you want). Sharing is the default mindset of the digital generation and if you don’t share you will be toast! Spotify rocks but their latest move (limiting the number of times people can listen to music for free) could signal the end.

“Data is the New Oil”

“Data is the new Oil” says Gerd  – a more succinct version of the original quote by Meglena Kuneva (EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner) in Brussels on 31st March 2009 in which she said “Personal data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world”

Both are great quotes which perfectly sum up the way things are heading (or have already headed) in the digital world. However, just like oil, the true value (and money) only comes from the myriad of products and services that can be derived from the raw material!

Social networks are broadcasters spreading news and information faster than traditional media channels. For example, “It takes roughly 41 seconds for ‘old media’ (i.e. tv) to report a breaking news story but just 28 seconds on Twitter!” New media then has the added bonus of being instantly ‘shareable’ – passing along far wider and more random patterns around the world.

We are moving away from providing digital copies which people can download and keep (MP3s, PDFs) to content they can stream so long as they continue to use the service (like the aforementioned Spotify).

The Future?

The future is all about;

• Bundling (content provided pre-loaded onto hardware devices like mobile phones)
• Freemium
• Up-selling
• Streaming

3 ways for creatives (or creators) to get paid;

• I pay (as a creator, you can get others to write a blog entry about you in return for payment)
• They pay (consumers are forced to watch adverts before accessing the content, i.e. at the beginning of a music video or computer game)
• You pay (consumers pay a subscription to access premium content & unlock additional features – classic Freemium model)

Find Out More / Discuss Further

If you’d like to read more from Gerd Leonhard (@gleonhard), visit www.mediafuturist.com where you can download free ebooks (the hope being that you will appreciate his work so much that you will go on to pay for a physical copy).

Seth Godin’s Email Checklist

Although email is obviously a fantastic invention, there’s far too much of it about as people don’t think enough before writing and hitting send.

It’s worth remembering that every time you send someone an email you’re actually giving them more work to do, whether that’s reading, replying, forwarding, deleting or marking as spam. (See my earlier post titled ‘The Race To ZERO‘).

Author, thinker, genius and marketing guru Seth Godin recently wrote the following blog post which really resonated with me so I thought I would repost it here in full. Maybe it’ll make you stop and think before sending your next barrage of email(s)…!

Email checklist (maybe this time it’ll work!)

Three years ago this week, I posted this checklist, in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.

A guy can hope, can’t he?

Feel free to send this to those that need to read it: Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure:

1. Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #10)
2. Since it’s going to a group, have I thought about who is on my list?
3. Are they blind copied?
4. Did every person on the list really and truly opt in? Not like sort of, but really ask for it?
5. So that means that if I didn’t send it to them, they’d complain about not getting it?
6. See #5. If they wouldn’t complain, take them off!
7. That means, for example, that sending bulk email to a list of bloggers just cause they have blogs is not okay.
8. Aside: the definition of permission marketing: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages delivered to people who actually want to get them. Nowhere does it say anything about you and your needs as a sender. Probably none of my business, but I’m just letting you know how I feel. (And how your prospects feel).
9. Is the email from a real person? If it is, will hitting reply get a note back to that person? (if not, change it please).
10. Have I corresponded with this person before?
11. Really? They’ve written back? (if no, reconsider email).
12. If it is a cold-call email, and I’m sure it’s welcome, and I’m sure it’s not spam, then don’t apologize. If I need to apologize, then yes, it’s spam, and I’ll get the brand-hurt I deserve.
13. Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
14. Could I do this note better with a phone call?
15. Am I blind-ccing my boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out?
16. Is there anything in this email I don’t want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
17. Is any portion of the email in all caps? (If so, consider changing it.)
18. Is it in black type at a normal size?
19. Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
20. Have I included the line, “Please save the planet. Don’t print this email”? (If so, please delete the line and consider a job as a forest ranger or flight attendant).
21. Could this email be shorter?
22. Is there anyone copied on this email who could be left off the list?
23. Have I attached any files that are very big? (If so, google something like ‘send big files’ and consider your options.)
24. Have I attached any files that would work better in PDF format?
25. Are there any 🙂 or other emoticons involved? (If so, reconsider).
26. Am I forwarding someone else’s mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?)
27. Am I forwarding something about religion (mine or someone else’s)? (If so, delete).
28. Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it’s ‘actually true).
29. Did I hit ‘reply all’? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
30. Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, “yes,” is not helpful).
31. If this email is to someone like Seth, did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it’s? Just wondering.
32. If this is a press release, am I really sure that the recipient is going to be delighted to get it? Or am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email–free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete?
33. Are there any little animated creatures in the footer of this email? Adorable kittens? Endangered species of any kind?
34. Bonus: Is there a long legal disclaimer at the bottom of my email? Why?
35. Bonus: Does the subject line make it easy to understand what’s to come and likely it will get filed properly?
36. If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?

Chris Anderson (Wired / TED) has come up with his own list as well.