How To Charge $$$ When Your Customers Are Conditioned To Free

I’ve been on a recent kick about “free” — most recently, countering Chris Andersen’s notion that the future of business is free. While I believe nothing is free in the end, I do agree that people are being conditioned by the idea of free. In that spirit, Kevin Kelly recently offered a brilliant framework for winning (aka “charging for your product”) in a hyper-competitive, networked, attention-scarce Web economy — where the notion of free is changing the competitive landscape.

Recognizing the Internet is a gigantic copy machine that makes duplicates everything super-abundant and free, Kelly concludes in Better Than Free that “when copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.” Kevin highlights eight values that can be sold, and NOT copied:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Personalization
  3. Interpretation
  4. Authenticit
  5. Accessibility
  6. Embodiment
  7. Patronage
  8. Findability

For me, it’s confirmed and brought clarity to a lot of winning assumptions in my own business, while underscoring weakness and opportunity. It really shines light on a key question: What will people continue to pay for in this digital networked world?

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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