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Three Simple Rules of 21st Century Business on the Web

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By B.J. Jansen

After much consternation and thought about the impact that piracy and the web have brought into the world of intellectual property, I've identified three simple constants. I'm sure my observations may draw criticism, however I feel that the best way to navigate today's internet webscape is to control what you can control. As such I've come up with the following:

1. Information is FREE

Internet and technology have created an environment where there are no secrets anymore. Further there are no logical ways to block or censor information anymore. Many pay-sites are still trying to monetize information, as if they are selling a hard-copy newspaper or magazine online, at the cost of their own success. People will negotiate around barriers to find the information they need. China is a wonderful example; the people of China are constantly finding ways to circumvent the government's obsessive attempts to censor the internet. On the net, if there is a will, there always is a way. Information is Free and should be treated as such, then, if the information is high quality, watch the traffic on your site explode.

2. Content is FREE

Content goes hand and hand with information and should be treated accordingly. Many companies complain or sue their customer base, as with the case of the RIAA, to attempt futilely to stop the piracy of content online. The simple fact is that Torrent download sites continue to thrive unabated. The web is nebulous and exists everywhere, even well beyond the long arms of international law. If people want your content for free, they will find a way to pirate it. Instead of wasting time dwelling on that, spend time moving forward. Give away free downloads, as research is showing that musicians who give away free downloads actually show increased sales of paid downloads.

3. Monetize the ANALOG

Everything boils down to Analog. Developing meaningful interactive, “touch," relationships with your customers is the key to success moving forward into the 21st century and beyond. Consumers more often than not buy based on feelings. These feelings are derived from your brand. If you find creative ways to monetize the Analog relationship that you have with your customers, you can't help but become successful. It involves careful long-term cultivation of your brand. It also includes the clever use of Social Media to develop meaningful interaction with your customer base. That interaction is Analog and will allow you to develop long-term and meaningful relationships. Those Analog relationships then turn into profits. Remember that your Analog brand relationship cannot be pirated, duplicated or stolen as your brand is unique to you.

These new game modifiers again illustrate the need for a strong brand identity. Branding allows you to relate and create intrinsic value with your audience. Branding allows you to connect and create analog emotional relationships with your audience. Branding gives you the power to engage, educate and sell yourself. Control what you can control, and monetize the analog.

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