Why will they come?

4 July, 2008

In thinking about my question from Tuesday I found myself thinking about two words: value and barriers.

Value is a word I have blogged about quite a lot over the past few months, I have a tendency to talk about the need to articulate a clear value proposition. We have conducted a lot of research that tells us that our audience are interested, they want to connect, they want to be able to learn from each other. But will they truly value this ability? Will access to a pool of people working in a similar industry, facing similar problems be enough to distract someone from the work they are doing and go online? Will their employers allow them time to get online to connect?

I believe we need to figure out how will users extract value from these applications. They say they want it, but how are they going to use it, and what impact will it have on the way they work? If we can figure these things out at least in fairly general terms, we go a long way to achieving that goal of articulating a clear value proposition.

In order to figure this out I’ll go back to some market research that was done early this year (it seems a long time ago now) and refresh myself with what our customers said to us.

Second I’ll put a survey out to those already participating in our existing social media initiatives. I’m not sure how many responses we’ll get but it seems to have worked for Jeremiah Owyang so we might as well give it a try.

Third I’ll get out and speak to the audience face o face. When I spend so much time communicating online it is very easy to forget how valuable a discussion with a real person can be.

With all of that hopefully I come up with a few clear points that our customers can relate to, or is this an impossible task? Do I just have to put it out there and see what happens?

Next up -thoughts on barriers to adoption….


5 Responses to “Why will they come?”

  1. maxelsen Says:


    I remember some time ago an accounting firm I worked with tried to get accounting practitioners to share knowledge (for example, pitfalls around small business grants or sharing tax advices). One barrier was legal liability – if a partner in Melbourne noted an advice, and a partner in Brisbane used it, the partner in Melbourne was legally liable even though she or he never received payment for it.

    As I recall as well, the professional indemnity insurer nearly had a heart attack when they realised the implications.

    In an environment like an accounting firm, anyway, where time is most definitely money, there’s the age-old wiifm question – what’s in it for me?

    I’m sure it can be gotten around, but your audience/potential community is probably one of the toughest – they ONLY think in terms of Value and Risk. You get around that, you’re good to go :).

    Thanks: Micheal

  2. Mick Leyden Says:

    Hey Michael

    That is a great point, certainly worth adding ‘Sit down with the legal team to discuss risks and mitigation strategies’ to the list!


  3. Andrew Mitchell Says:

    I strongly support the idea of going face to face with your community early adopters.

    I suggest that you use this opportunity to seek stories from community members. The best stories will resonate for potential members. Better to get a bunch of your members together for discussion rather than do it individually. Do you know Shawn & Mark’s work at http://www.anecdote.com.au ? Lots of valuable advice here. Look for their paper on how to run an Anecdote Circle?

    Good luck.


  4. Mick Leyden Says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the tip, I do read Shawn and Mark’s blog, but have not come across the Anecdote Circle. I’ll check it out!

    I like the idea of gathering community member experiences, it is easier to connect with the story of a peer, than that of a dude who is trying to ‘flog’ the concept.


  5. […] think Andrew Mitchell’s point (see the comments) about capturing user stories will really help here […]

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