Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Value-Based Pricing Is Transforming B2B -- Now for B2C...

"There is broad consensus...that a pricing orientation based on customer value and customer willingness-to-pay is best and can positively influence pricing power and firm performance." -- Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management
FairPay is a new way to do value-based pricing -- in which prices are set based on the actual value realized by each individual consumer -- with a fair share of the value surplus going to the provider.
  • Value-based pricing has proven transformative in B2B contexts. It is becoming accepted as best-practice, where feasible, even though this approach has been largely unknown in consumer markets. 
  • Now FairPay provides a lightweight way to exploit the economics of digital to achieve similarly transformative win-win results, in a way that is suitable for many mass-B2C businesses (especially for digital content/services).
This post provides background on what value-based pricing is, and shows how and why it is increasingly transforming businesses in the B2B space. It explains why it has generally not been relevant for B2C businesses, and how FairPay provides a new variation on this theme that is specifically suited to consumer markets. (Links to authoritative references are provided -- it is strongly recommended that any manager with revenue responsibility understand this increasingly important new perspective on strategy.)

New pricing strategies can drive business design and disrupt markets

Before jumping into the details, let's be clear that these ideas go far beyond the narrow "green-eyeshade" confines of pricing that many managers tune out. Pricing is an often neglected aspect of strategy, given little attention or respect. But pricing can have huge impact on profitability, and value-based pricing has proven that it can transform fundamental business models and organization structures. It can drive design thinking in ways that improve customer relationships, disrupt competition, and reshape markets. As Peter Drucker said, "The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence, it is to act with yesterday's logic." In these times of turbulence, pricing is too important to be left to the pricing specialists. 

Value-based pricing -- seeking optimal value exchange

The terms value-based, performance-based, outcomes-based, and success-based are often used for variations on the same basic idea. (I use the term value-based, for breadth and simplicity, since performance, outcomes, and success are aspects of value.) These all differ from more conventional cost-based (cost plus markup) and competition-based (what the market will bear) pricing orientations, which are widely used, but are more simplistic and generally less effective.

My particular emphasis is on post-usage assessments of value, which are central to individualized, in-context experiences of value -- these are most important to quantifying the true value to a given customer (especially for experience goods). The term value-based pricing is also used for less collaborative, pre-usage pricing variants that are based on generic predictions of value. That is a step in the right direction, but generic predictions are just expected averages, and thus a poor approximation of post-usage measurements of value, as actually realized by any given customer.

Value-based pricing seeks to approximate the ideal of perfect price discrimination, which captures maximum revenue from every customer (including many who would otherwise not actually become customers at all). As currently applied, experiential value-based (post-) pricing has generally been impractical in consumer markets, but it has proven very effective and efficient for industrial items or services. For post-pricing based on value, the challenge has been that this requires 1) that the parties can agree on how to measure value as it is experienced in context, and how to share in the value surplus that the product/service creates, and 2) that they able to do the analysis that requires, after the performance and outcomes are known.

While this had limited where value-based pricing has been applicable, it is widely accepted that digital transformation is rapidly expanding that applicability.

The following sections address how FairPay simplifies this process to make a new kind of value-based pricing practical for consumer markets, but first, let's look at the evidence of why this is so important.

Powerful lessons from the B2B world

The current special issue of the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management is devoted to value based pricing -- its editorial observes (emphasis added):
There is broad consensus among pricing scholars, consultants, and practitioners that a pricing orientation based on customer value and customer willingness-to-pay is best and can positively influence pricing power and firm performance...More stories of successful transformation are being presented at pricing and business conferences. More firms are piloting value-based pricing with specific projects and technology platforms. 
One of the articles in that issue, The conceptualization of pricing schemes: From product-centric to customer-centric value approaches (by Stoppel and Roth), provides a conceptual structure and a survey of practice to show how this can "strengthen the relationship between customer and provider" and provide numerous mutual benefits.

Helpful background on why this is so powerful is contained in Is Performance-Based Pricing the Right Price for You?, a 2002 paper from Harvard Business School Working Knowledge (emphasis added):
Not every industry or company can benefit from performance-based pricing. But where there is a fit, PBP can be a powerful tool that merges the interests of buyers and sellers, says Harvard Business School professor Benson Shapiro.
Because pricing is such a difficult and complex arena, it has confounded sales and marketing executives and scholars for centuries. In no other marketing element is the two-sided conflict and cooperation nature of the buyer-seller relationship made so clear.
Part of the relationship is a zero-sum game between buyer and seller in which one's gain is the other's loss. Pricing is at the center of this part. But, there is a second, win-win part of most buyer-seller relationships, including almost all business-to-business relationships. The win-win part often includes improved products and services that simultaneously provide greater customer value and higher supplier profitability. We constantly strive to move elements of the relationship from the zero-sum conflict side to the win-win cooperation side to achieve business success and relieve personal angst on both sides. We have searched for ways to move pricing into the win-win category. In some situations, performance-based pricing can make pricing a win-win element of the buyer/seller relationship.
That paper goes on to give many examples, noting its popularity in advertising, as well as "industries as diverse as consulting, trucking, and heavy industrial services." It cites three advantages:
  1. "alignment...between the buyer's goals and the seller's goals
  2. "insurance...when the final performance of the service or product is in doubt," creating "a greater sense of 'fairness' for both buyer and seller" 
  3. "the very process...develops 'wide-band width" communication between buyer and seller...a great deal of buyer/seller cooperation and coordination and literally a much broader agreement.
The downsides cited by Shapiro are that it "is complicated...the amount to be paid can not be determined until after delivery, and often even after usage' and that this "moves both the cost and price risk to the seller," (and that "it is not good for sellers who desperately need short-term cash flow"). It is this complexity that has kept such approaches out of B2C markets until now.

But Shapiro also observes that "the vendor then obtains the opportunity to better manage the spreads among value to the customer, price, and cost to its advantage. With risk comes added opportunity. The vendor who uses performance-based pricing must thus be willing to accept greater, two-sided (price and cost) risk for added reward opportunity." These are advantages that I have highlighted as the motivations for FairPay. This idea of opportunity coming out of risk is important, and is addressed further in the last section.

Additional interesting background that reinforces these points is in the chapter "Pay if it Works" in Smart Pricing, by Raju and Zhang of the Wharton School, and a more recent HBR article

This trend relates to the ideas described in my post, Price = Value, based on the growing acceptance that value derives from services, not goods (even if it is a service that is embodied in a good) -- and that companies can profit from that by setting prices based on the value of their services, not just the goods that they are based on. There have been many successes. Perhaps most familiar to people in content businesses are performance-based advertising pricing models, such as the shift from cost-per-impression to cost-per-click to cost-per-lead or cost-per-action. But industrial services provide many illuminating examples. For example, Rolls Royce profited from realizing that it need not sell jet engines as commodities, but could get more share of wallet and make its customers happier by selling "Power by the Hour," where the airlines pay for what they use, and leave it to Rolls Royce to manage high capital investment and critical maintenance efforts. GE and others now do the same. Michelin now sells tires by the mile to fleet owners.* There have been many more successes, including the example of Salesforce, which uses customized value-based pricing for its large accounts (as reported to me by the executive who managed development of that pricing system a decade ago). An important example where outcomes are increasingly viewed as an essential basis for fair and efficient pricing is in healthcare. (The Stoppel and Roth paper cited above provides additional examples.)

The advent of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) is making this more feasible and effective in a much wider variety of businesses, as described in a 2014 HBR article. Value can be measured in any appropriate manner, reflecting usage, performance, outcomes, and other factors. (I addressed the similar potential for big data about content service use in an earlier post, "E-Books Are Reading You" -- How That Enables a New and Far Better Economics.) 

Value to the consumer! -- a win-win game

Now FairPay takes the principles of the value-based pricing and applies them in a lightweight and intuitive form to consumer markets. In doing this, it can flexibly blend desirable features of other pricing models in a new paradigm. It combines aspects of freemium and participatory pricing (along with post-pricing) in a new way -- one that gives buyers and sellers evenly balanced power to set individualized fair prices in "dialogs about value" -- a collaboration over time that can consider all of the relevant dimensions of value and fairness. Its assessments of value may at first be crude, but because of its continuously adaptive learning process they can be good enough, and get better, on average, as the relationship develops over time. (It also gets more seamless and habitual after a short initial learning period.)

Shapiro's paper nicely points out the zero-sum versus win-win game aspects of buyer-seller relationships (as quoted above). FairPay is based on just such a view, working as a repeated game that seeks win-win cooperation over the course of each relationship. The details of that game are described in my post, FairPay Changes the "Game" of Commerce, and how it works in various industries is outlined throughout my blog. A conceptual perspective on why this is important and how the value surplus can be shared fairly is in my post, An Invisible Handshake for The Digital Wealth of Nations.

Drawing on the conceptual model of Stoppel and Roth, pricing schemes have two key components: measurement units (that provide a basis for pricing), and calculation mechanisms (effectively the pricing rates that derive a monetary amount based on the units). These elements can be addressed in systematic ways in the large B2B contexts where value-based pricing has been successful, but are a challenge for B2C markets. The breakthrough of FairPay is to recognize that the individual relationships in B2C markets operate at a more subjective, intuitive, heuristic level, and that we can exploit computer-mediation to design the pricing game to operate at that same level.
  • FairPay is not the same as traditional person-to-person negotiation, but both operate at a similar and appropriately subjective, intuitive, and human level. 
  • The choice of measurement units and pricing mechanisms can be flexible and dynamic, because cooperation is centered on fuzzy aggregate values where these details are merely reference points for justifying an approximate valuation that is intuitively agreeable. 
  • The business can accept some degree of transaction-level valuation errors (given the low marginal costs), as long as the overall trend of the relationship leads to fair and sustainable profit. 
FairPay pricing is emergent out of fuzzily approximate dialogs about value that converge toward reasonable accuracy and fairness. This has strong foundations in behavioral economics, as explained in Making Customers Want to Pay You -- Research on How FairPay Changes the Game and Thinking Fast and Slow about FairPay: A New Psychology for Commerce in a Networked Age

It is this embrace of fuzziness and emergence that enables FairPay to find a solution that transcends rigorous computational models to cut through the dilemma of unlimited all you can eat (AYCE) models versus metered usage-based models, both of which are inefficient and have consumer acceptance issues.* By accepting pricing risk (which is actually very manageable for digital services), FairPay opens vast new opportunities to collaborate, build loyalty, and upsell -- to maximize Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

The competitive advantage of taking on risk

Expanding on the observations of Shapiro noted above, an article in the current issue of PWC Strategy+Business, The Uncertainty Advantage, notes that "Creative leaders don’t fear risk — they turn it into a money-making strategy."
There is no better source of profit than your ability to first identify the opportunity hidden in disruptive forces and then use it to differentiate your company from its competitors.
Post-pricing based on individual value is such an opportunity. FairPay recognizes that in a digital world, service providers risk little by taking on pricing risk, because their marginal cost of service is near zero. They can provide  a big win for their customers -- by taking on the customer's risk of disappointment, at little risk to themselves -- and thus create a big win for themselves.

FairPay can help us move from thinking narrowly about user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) based on rigid, imposed pricing models, to the more central and win-win issue of value experience (VX). Notice that UX and CX consider the perspective of the user/consumer, but they do so with the the idea that the UX/CX is to be managed by the vendor (and with the vendor's unilateral price setting power). VX looks at this from the broader perspective that value is something that neither party owns or fully controls, but is something that both co-create and share in cooperatively. With this central focus on value experience, we can then find ways to cooperatively look beyond conventional notions of pricing, to change the nature of our business models, and make them more win-win.

Which is more win-win way to think about pricing? Which gives your customers a truly "customer-first" experience of value? Which will make your business most sustainably profitable? Isn't it time to give it a serious try?

----
Some other discussions of value-based pricing on this blog:
----
For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.

---
*Note important distinctions between models based on actual usage, such as power by the hour and tires by the mile, versus those based on potential usage, such as the all you can eat (AYCE) subscriptions that are becoming dominant is content sales (news, music, TV/video), as described in the Deadweight Loss post. Actual usage is a form of post-pricing, and thus tracks moderately well to realized value, while AYCE access subscriptions are pre-priced, with no correlation to whether usage (and thus value) is high or low. 

At a next level of refinement, actual usage is still not an ideal metric of realized value, especially for experience goods. For jet engines and fleet tires, hours or miles (respectively) will usually correlate well with value, but for news stories or videos, the number of stories or number of programs (or minutes) may not correlate very well with realized value at all. That unforgiving "ticking meter" is why conventional usage-rate-based pricing of content (pay per view and micropayments) has remained unpopular with consumers. The "subscription economy" moves us closer to actual value than an ownership economy does, but the measurement of subscription value is the key challenge in making pricing truly value-based and win-win. That is why FairPay (with its fuzzy, value-based blend of AYCE and usage pricing) can make all the difference.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Profiting from Habit -- Seamless Monetization

Marketers increasingly recognize how essential habit and seamlessness are. "How to Win and Keep Customers" is the cover theme of the current Harvard Business Review -- the lead article says to focus on habit, not loyalty, while others say that "habit is how we build the connection" and "habit beats novelty."

Some people question whether FairPay is seamless enough, and whether it goes against habit, but I suggest that, done right, it actually builds a stable, self-adjusting relationship based on habit in a way that is natural and largely seamless.

Habit and subscriptions

Subscriptions are about as habitual as commerce can get. The dream of many subscription marketers is to get customers to subscribe, put them on autopay, and hope they never think about it again -- pure habit. Not even "thinking fast" as Kahneman called it, but not thinking at all.

But the reality of the subscription habit is not really so simple -- and poses financial risk to the subscriber. Seamlessness requires not just absence of effort, but absence of risk.
  • Especially for unlimited digital subscriptions, customer usage -- and value -- varies not only from customer to customer but also from period to period. 
  • Many customers are often nagged by the feeling that they are paying too much for a service they no longer find worth the price (and may not be using). 
  • A price that sustains lack of thought from one customer at one period may not do so for another customer -- or for the same customer, for a different period. 
  • Perceived value fluctuates, and when it goes below a threshold, the dreaded cancellation request arises. 
  • Then things get hairy, as previously profitable customers may or may not be coaxed to stay. 
  • Both businesses and consumers spend great cognitive effort (and service agent time) negotiating whether to cancel, or agree on some customized retention offer -- and if successful, that just kicks the can down the road a bit. 
No matter what your subscription price, there are problems.
  • If the habit does not fail for many customers, the question is why not? Is it because your price is so far below the pain point that you are leaving money on the table for most of your customers? 
  • Whatever the failure rate, what about the unseen base of the iceberg?
    ...those who do not subscribe because the price seems too high?
    ...the many customers who don't even consider subscribing because of fear they will regret it?
    ...those who decline even a free trial, because they do not want to have to remember to opt-out? (That barrier is reinforced by the consumer-hostile "roach motel" policy of most subscription businesses that make it painfully difficult to cancel.) 
So what seems a nicely mindless subscription process actually works rather crudely, and not always so mindlessly. (See Winning Back Lost Customers -- Before They Get Lost.)

At the same time, keep in mind that for some customers, seamlessness is not the issue. An important segment of consumers enthusiastically embrace behaviors that are far from seamless. Some consumers willingly bear punishingly high cognitive loads -- some in various forms of bargain hunting (such as to maximize credit card bonuses and airline rewards), others because they are "superfans" and actually want to be deeply involved.

Habit and FairPay

The new FairPay relationship strategy entails a learning curve that may seem burdensome, but it is risk-free, and once established, it can be simpler than conventional subscription (or membership) processes.

When managers consider FairPay, a common initial concern is that it is unfamiliar, and that it imposes a new cognitive burden on the customer. The burden is in the cooperative discovery process that leads to personalized prices, based on dialogs about value (and price) with each customer. In principle, that process is adaptive, forever. That may sound like a formula for a lot of "thinking slow," something humans try to avoid, and marketers rightly wish to help them avoid.

But that is not the full picture, for two reasons. The first, as explained above, is that the seemingly mindless subscription process often fails and becomes burdensome. It involves not only cognitive effort, but financial risk.

The other reason is that FairPay actually can become habitual, and ultimately become an even simpler habit than a conventional subscription (even when that subscription is working reasonably smoothly). As a buyer and seller gain familiarity and gain a shared understanding of received value, the FairPay seller can adapt the process to create a level of confidence and trust in its workings that reduces the cognitive load:
  • After a short learning curve, the seller's algorithms can begin to predict the value that the buyer sees, and can suggest prices that the buyer will generally be satisfied with. These suggested prices can use predictive and anticipatory analytics and machine learning to reflect the dynamics of value, as perceived by the buyer -- reflecting how many and which items are consumed, with what intensity, and with what results -- and that can be shown in the usage report that goes with each pricing request.
  • The buyer sees the progress of that learning as it emerges, and becomes increasingly comfortable that the seller's pricing suggestions are becoming properly personalized to reflect their usage and values. Such dynamic suggestions can become far more aligned with perceived value than any fixed subscription fee.
  • Once that comfort level emerges and is sustained for a while, the buyer can simply put the process on autopilot (using autopay, just like a conventional subscription). The difference is that the buyer always has the option to review recent charges, and can go back to make a unilateral adjustment any time they might feel those prices are out of line for a given period. That can be a one-time adjustment, or can trigger a deeper re-calibration of the personalized pricing process.
  • This process eliminates financial risk to the subscriber -- an important aspect of seamlessness. Customers need not fear subscribing under FairPay, because there is no roach motel -- they will not be required to pay by default, to pay for services they do not use, or to remember and go through hoops to cancel a service they no longer want. 
Because this adaptive learning can become largely automatic, with just occasional re-calibrations, this can actually become just as simple and impose no more cognitive load than conventional subscriptions. Done well, it can actually become more seamless.

And, perhaps more importantly, with a FairPay relationship, there is no financial risk to fear -- consumers need never doubt that subscribing is worthwhile, because they share in the power to set the terms, expending as much or as little effort as they deem worthwhile..

Easing the learning curve

Of course this is a new method of doing business, so early uses will not go as smoothly as they will after businesses and consumers have gained a good understanding of how to use it effectively. So for early uses it is important to be careful to select lines of business and customer segments where it is likely to work well, and where some cognitive load will be tolerated. Suggestions on how to do that are in a companion post, Finding Good and Fair Customers -- Where Are the Sweet Spots?

FairPay is a new pricing method that reduces risk, but involves joint learning. It will not be simpler for all people, all of the time. But it promises to reach a level of habit that will be simpler for many people, most of the time. And as businesses and consumers learn to use it effectively, it will be simpler for more people, more of the time. And that will generate greater CLV, from a wider market.

----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Subscription-First" ...Why Not Subscriber-First???

"We are, in the simplest terms, a subscription-first business," said The New York Times in its 2020 Report -- an admirable examination and re-dedication to its premier journalism.

But what is missing in this picture? In an age where businesses of all kinds are realizing that their path to success is to go beyond "customer-centric" to become "customer first," is the Times thinking about becoming "subscriber first?"  What they refer to as subscription-first is recognition that the subscriber (not the advertiser) is the customer they must center on. But are they pushing beyond subscription-centric to subscriber-first? Perhaps to some extent, but I have suggested to the Times (and their competitors) that the business of journalism must focus more directly on how business model innovation can facilitate that.

A nice explanation of this difference is in a recent report from MarketingSherpa: "to come alongside customers and help them achieve their goals versus only driving them towards business goals."
A shift from...
Customer-Centric Marketing — aiming at the customer
Customer-centric marketing puts the customers at the center of marketing; all promotions and messaging flow towards them in the way that is most relevant to them. Marketers put themselves in the customers’ shoes to sell to them better.
To... 
Customer-First Marketing — elevating the customer
Customer-first marketing uses the customers’ goals as the compass to make decisions about marketing approach. They put the long-term interest of the customer above the short-term company conversion goals. Marketers put themselves in the customers’ shoes to serve them better, thus building a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage. 
It does not appear that the Times has this deeper shift in mind. This may seem a fine distinction, but it can be made operationally important. FairPay is a new strategy for subscriptions that are truly subscriber-first at the core. It focuses all aspects of the business on value as each subscriber perceives it, and does that in the most direct way possible -- by involving the subscriber in setting their subscription price.

Subscription-first?

The new Times report, Journalism That Stands Apart: THE REPORT OF THE 2020 GROUP, begins with this near the front (emphasis added):
We are, in the simplest terms, a subscription-first business. Our focus on subscribers sets us apart in crucial ways from many other media organizations. We are not trying to maximize clicks and sell low-margin advertising against them. We are not trying to win a pageviews arms race. We believe that the more sound business strategy for The Times is to provide journalism so strong that several million people around the world are willing to pay for it.
It goes on in a later section:
3. We need to redefine success.
The newsroom has embraced data and analytics over the past year, with positive effects. We now have a better sense for which of our work resonates with readers and which does not. We’re producing more resonant work, and we have largely resisted the lures of clickbait.
Now we need to take the next steps. The newsroom needs a clearer understanding that pageviews, while a meaningful yardstick, do not equal success. To repeat, The Times is a subscription-first business; it is not trying to maximize pageviews. The most successful and valuable stories are often not those that receive the largest number of pageviews, despite widespread newsroom assumptions. A story that receives 100,000 or 200,000 pageviews and makes readers feel as if they’re getting reporting and insight that they can’t find anywhere else is more valuable to The Times than a fun piece that goes viral and yet woos few if any new subscribers.
The data and audience insights group, under Laura Evans, is in the latter stages of creating a more sophisticated metric than pageviews, one that tries to measure an article’s value to attracting and retaining subscribers. This metric seems a promising alternative to pageviews.
Yet the newsroom should also understand that no metric is perfect. To a significant extent, we will need to rely on a mix of quantitative measures and qualitative judgments when deciding which stories to do and to promote. Achieving the right balance is tricky. We neither want to equate audience size with journalistic value nor do we want to return to the days when we persuaded ourselves that a piece of journalism was valuable for the mere reason that it appeared in The New York Times.
Subscriber-first -- its all about value to the subscriber -- in terms of the subscriber's goals

The Times seems focused on the value of its reporting to subscribers, but it is not clear that this looks beyond their own objective of "attracting and retaining subscribers." A true customer-first strategy would focus the Times on understanding the value they provide to each subscriber, in terms of that subscriber's goals, and using that to drive decisions. There may be limits to the extent to which this guides editorial, but it should guide product development, business, and marketing decisions. FairPay is a strategy for subscriber-first pricing that can drive all other aspects of the business.

The Times is already moving in the right general direction. They can follow their subscription-first path and seek to maximize revenue by just getting smarter about their goal of getting people to subscribe and stay subscribers. They refer to "more sophisticated metrics." A nice summary of methods they may apply is in David Skok's recent NiemanLab prediction: What Lies Beyond Paywalls (see my comments on that: What Lies Beyond Paywalls -- A Better Way).

The problem is that this is still aimed at the publisher's goals, not the reader's -- trying to psych out the reader, to understand how to better align prices they impose with the value the reader perceives, to get and keep more subscribers. But the reader has unique access to their personal perception of value (as it relates to their goals). Current processes do not involve the reader in real dialog that can expose those perceptions (or their goals) directly -- and signal that the publisher cares about them.

A truly customer-first, subscriber-first strategy would involve the subscriber in measuring value -- from their personal perspective. The FairPay strategy suggests a way to do this (at least for a segment of cooperative subscribers) is to involve the subscriber in setting the price of the subscription, and letting that price vary over time. Only by doing that can the price truly correspond to value -- as it varies from subscriber to subscriber and from period to period. The single price set by the Times ($2.75/week) is too much for many potential subscribers, and too little for many dedicated ones. Too much for a given subscriber in some periods, and too little in other periods.

The FairPay strategy can involve the subscriber in a cooperative and dynamically adaptive process that can quantify the value that subscriber sees (as it relates to their goals), and set the price accordingly.

  • It seeks to do this in a way that is simple, yet balanced to work for both the publisher and the subscriber. 
  • It applies dialogs about value to elicit value perception data from the subscriber that can be obtained in no other way. 
  • These dialogs also serve to deepen the relationship by demonstrating that the subscriber's perspectives and goals are respected. 
  • At the same time, this process gives the publisher a way to validate that information, to nudge the subscriber to pay fairly, and to cut off FairPay privileges for those who are uncooperative. 
  • This operates as a repeated game, a structure that can motivate cooperation. 

Think of it as not just customer experience (CX), but a truly customer-first focus on value experience (VX).

This may not work for all subscribers, at least not right away, but it can be applied to select segments of current and future subscribers to get and retain more subscribers, and thus increase the total value of digital subscriptions to both the publisher and the subscribers. A fuller explanation is in my post, Patron-izing Journalism -- Beyond Paywalls, Meters, and Membership. Suggestions on how this can begin with select segments and then gradually expand are in Finding Good and Fair Customers -- Where Are the Sweet Spots?

The Times (and others) can try basic forms of this strategy in limited, low-risk tests, and learn to refine and extend it. They and their subscribers can learn how to cooperate to get the best and most valuable journalism possible, by the measures that matter -- the satisfaction of each subscriber as well as the profit. They can move from subscription first to subscriber-first. As the MarketingSherpa report shows, this can lead to "customer loyalty, an increase in share of wallet, and sustainable business success."

----
Some other posts that expand on how FairPay applies to journalism:
----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What Lies Beyond Paywalls -- A Better Way

Are publishers in a zero-sum pricing game with their readers -- a game of psyching them out? Or is a win-win game of cooperation on value exchange with their best current and potential customers a better way to make journalism sustainable? With doubts as to the future of advertising support, this question of how best to motivate direct reader payments is central to the future of journalism.

NiemanLab's astute 2017 prediction piece entitled What Lies Beyond Paywalls (by David Skok of the Toronto Star) explains how advanced marketing technology can change paywalls. I agree, and suggest that FairPay provides an important complement to that -- pointing to a new way to use this technology in an even more effectively predictive, anticipatory, powerful -- and win-win -- way. The idea is to go farther beyond current paywalls, in a new, more "customer-first" dimension: 
  • from one-sided, zero-sum relationships, where the publisher uses this technology to unilaterally impose a price on the reader in a smarter way
  • to cooperative, win-win relationships, where the publisher uses this technology to motivate the customer to participate in setting a price that both parties accept as fair value -- at least for the important subset of users who can be enticed to cooperate -- and it is those who are likely to provide the most Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Skok nicely projects the skilled application of advanced marketing technology to journalism:
We can combine machine learning, predictive, and anticipatory analytics to optimize the value exchanged from this reader, on this device, coming from this platform, on this article, at this exact moment in time. In other words, a dynamic meter.
I agree that a dynamic meter is central to the answer -- but suggest we need to go beyond our narrow 20th century mindset about how the meter is used. Instead of continuing to to unilaterally impose prices -- even if based on smarter metering -- I suggest we apply our smarter meter to engage the reader in a more cooperative approach to our value exchange relationship.

A "sophisticated, data driven approach to revenue" to achieve "a dynamic value exchange"

As Skok says, a greater emphasis on "high journalistic or engagement value...makes the notion of having binary on-or-off paywalls and press releases touting '10 free articles a month' seem antiquated." Better learning and analytics enable publishers to drive toward "the ideal value exchange...and then serve [any visitor] a dynamic meter accordingly." That is a smart adaptation of the advanced methods that are increasingly common in all kinds of online marketing to consumers -- but it still has a premise that I suggest is antiquated.

Skok's analysis clearly reflects the nature of journalism as an experience good in which the value proposition is very personalized and dynamic. But no matter how well we apply sophisticated learning and analytics, we can only make an informed guess at how to see value through our reader's eyes. Why not use all of that data -- but complement it with the knowledge of the reader, who understands the experience of their own value perceptions and usage context far more directly than even the most sophisticated publisher possibly can? Instead of trying to psych out the right price (or price schedule) to offer the reader, why not cooperate with them to agree on the right price (or price schedule)?

The participatory, "customer-first," twist of FairPay

FairPay draws on recent findings in behavioral economics that suggest that pricing is most effective, and builds greatest Customer Lifetime Value, when it emerges through a dialog with the buyer in a win-win process.  Such dialog was standard practice through most of history -- before the advent of mass-marketing sacrificed the naturally cooperative nature of commercial relationships.  We already see this re-emerging today in the principle of “value-based pricing” that is now becoming a best-practice in many B2B markets.  FairPay offers a new way to make a similar approach workable and scalable for mass consumer markets.  This is particularly relevant for digital experience goods such as journalism (especially since digital goods have negligible replication costs).
  • Skok points to how modern methods can make seller-set pricing very sophisticated in predicting/anticipating consumer value.  
  • FairPay suggests that even perfectly sophisticated seller-pricing is not as accurate or effective as joint value-setting.  
  • Seller-set pricing fails to fully exploit the buyer’s unique knowledge of received value, and is unable to motivate the cooperative "customer-first" relationship that joint value-setting does.
Using FairPay for selected readers, the methods Skok outlines would be used by the publisher not to psych-out the reader, but to frame the dialog and nudge the reader to prices that are agreeably fair:
  • Learning and analytic methods can be used to suggest prices to the reader, and frame why those suggestions are fair. 
  • Instead of being unilaterally imposed, take it or leave it, they can be presented in a way that invites the reader to agree, or explain why they disagree. 
  • The most appreciative readers may wish to pay even more share of wallet, to support the work they value highly.
  • Large numbers of would-be customers, who would otherwise walk away, can agree to pay a bit less generously, but still add some profit that supports the creation of more journalism.
  • This value setting process can reflect a fully dynamic meter, of the kind Skok suggests -- one that includes reverse meter values (such as advertising attention, viral shares, UGC, and the like).
  • Customers will gain satisfaction and be more loyal when they see that the publisher is putting the customer first, and seeking to find a fair value exchange specific to each individual case.
FairPay would be positioned as a special option for a privileged relationship -- a FairPay Zone -- one that centers on creating a good "Value Experience" (VX):
  • Readers who enter this FairPay Zone can do so at any level of usage, with corresponding prices. It acts as a totally personalized paywall/membership/patronship option with terms that are cooperatively agreed to. 
  • Even readers who "despise" paywalls will likely find the win-win process of the FairPay Zone agreeable -- a truly customer-first, 1:1 experience that centers on value. This can reduce cost-per-acquisition, better convert visitors to subscribers, increase reader satisfaction, reduce costly churn, and thus truly maximize CLV. Instead of the old invisible hand, think of this as an invisible handshake.
  • This FairPay Zone would coexist with conventional seller-set pricing (paywalls, membership, and/or meters). Those would apply at the reader's discretion for those who do not wish to opt in -- and at the publisher's discretion for those who do not demonstrate willingness to play the FairPay “game” fairly and cooperatively. Such alternatives could be any combination of unlimited subscription or per item deals, much as Skok outlines. For those customers who are not ready and willing for the cooperative path of FairPay, that path will remain best practice for some time. 
  • But for customers who are ready and willing, why not engage them in a more win-win customer journey
(FairPay can be implemented by individual publishers, or in aggregator platforms such as Blendle or NextIssue. The back end services supporting FairPay can be developed by individual publishers or by SaaS platform providers that serve multiple publishers.)

Established findings in behavioral economics and game theory provide strong reason to expect that FairPay will be very effective. It is a unique combination of proven elements -- that combination has not yet been fully proven in practice, but can be done with low-risk controlled experiments and then scaled from there, as explained in my book.

Some other posts that expand on how FairPay applies to journalism:
(Much the same theme also relates to the NY Times' recent 2020 Report, which suggests "We are, in simplest terms, a subscription-first business." A future post will expand on the idea that they would do well to begin moving from "subscription-first" to "subscriber first.")

----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Finding Good and Fair Customers -- Where Are the Sweet Spots?

Finding good customers is the essential to success for all businesses. It is especially important in early uses of the new FairPay business strategy that builds cooperative "customer first" relationships.

Almost everyone who hears about FairPay sees its appeal -- but they also see that, because this relationship-centered strategy seems unconventional, it may not be not suitable for all customers (at least not yet). So the question arises: "where does it work best?" Naturally, in experimenting with a new technique, the smart strategy is to begin with the low hanging fruit and low-risk learning. Here is a focused approach to finding those early sweet spots.

FairPay as a change in behavior

People almost universally understand the new balance of power represented by FairPay's invisible handshake as being compelling:
We will give you (our customer) real power to participate in pricing -- as long as you demonstrate that you are fair about it. We will reward your generosity -- but will withdraw this special privilege if you are unfair.
This makes relationship marketing a two-party repeated game that rewards cooperation on both sides, and is clearly in the interest of consumers who are willing to play. (As explained in FairPay Changes the "Game" of Commerce.)

Rational consumers should want to play the FairPay game with any business they want to have a maximally beneficial long-term relationship with. They will get the best value for their money (including value from the relationship that they could not otherwise buy at all). But behavioral economics has shown us that consumers are not homo economicus, not all that rational. So the questions are how will real customers react? There are two related questions:
  1. How hard is it to get customers to use their pricing power fairly, given the current mind-set of many modern consumers to look for bargains -- to take a very short-term view of commerce as a brutally zero-sum game of deals, not relationships?
  2. Is the cognitive load of participating in the FairPay pricing process too burdensome for most customers -- compared to "one-click" seamlessness of "take it or leave it" set-pricing? (Of course this is a bit of a false comparison, given that bargain hunting leads many consumers to take on huge cognitive loads -- such as for credit card bonuses and airline rewards, some extremists spending days researching and making "mileage runs" to get miles with most of the costs and none of the benefits of going anywhere.)
Start with the low-hanging fruit 

The question that matters is not how hard it is to convert your total market of customers, but whether there is a segment of customers who will take naturally to FairPay -- who will make it effective and profitable early on, with a minimum of difficulty:
  • What is the nature of those low-hanging fruit customer segments?
  • Where can we find and engage them? -- in what businesses sectors?
  • How can we target them with niche initiatives to prove the concept and refine it at low cost and risk?
  • How can we leverage our early learning to quickly make FairPay more simple and habitual?
  • How can we then build on that learning with select customers to broaden the market? 
FairPay is an engine that motivates fairness, but it makes sense to begin using early versions of that engine where it will prove most effective -- in populations that will be eager to take to it. And even if expansion beyond those limited populations is slow, why not enjoy that ripe fruit and increase the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of your best customers?

Think of these early sweet spots as the thin end of the wedge of behavior change. As customers begin to see how it improves their customer experience -- their value experience -- they will want to use it more, and others will want to join in that.

Natural customers for FairPay

FairPay is not a new behavior, but a reversion to behavioral norms that are natural, and were the way people conducted business with one another for millennia. But that is a change from current consumer mind-sets (bargain-hunting), and some customer segments will adapt to that more readily than others.
  • Some will be slow to shift from short-term, zero-sum thinking -- viewing businesses as an enemy to exploit or be exploited by -- while others will jump at the opportunity to build a productive and cooperative relationship. 
  • The trick will be to find lines of business and customer segments who are most disposed to welcome this new logic, those for whom it is most natural.
The behavioral science behind this is addressed in my post Making Customers Want to Pay You -- Research on How FairPay Changes the Game. The key idea is that there are two factors to work with:
  1. Social Value Orientation (SVO), essentially pro-social versus pro-self, as individual traits
  2. Economic/Exchange Relationship Norms versus Communal Relationship Norms, as situational variables in a relationship. 
The sweet spot is in targeting high Social Value Orientation (pro-social) customers, and nudging them toward Communal Relationship Norms. That suggests two related factors to the segmentation strategy:

1. Start with those disposed to generosity -- “superfans” who are loyal and perceive high value (especially appreciative customers of providers who demonstrably deserve generosity for delivering high quality, service, and social value). They are the ones who will respond best to the pricing privilege that the seller grants to the buyer in FairPay, to price in a way that considers fairness to the seller, and who will be least inclined to abuse that privilege.  Managing FairPay offers for these buyers will be mostly carrot, and not much stick. They are the ones who will be most willing to pay you generously for your product or service -- as long as you establish and maintain your position as deserving, delivering on your promises, and asking in the right way for fair compensation.

2. Start with those disposed to cooperation -- dedicated customers who are thrilled to share pricing responsibility, and are willing to bear some modest burden to do that right. What is needed is
not just a desire to be fair, but willingness to make the effort to do so. For that, the key is to target customers who are dedicated to the product or service and/or the provider. Again, loyal/"superfan" customers are most likely to have this dedication. (Benji Rogers of PledgeMusic observed to me that "superfans will happily crawl on broken glass" to support their favorite artists.)

These are the customers who will be worth your while to start with. The FairPay process enables you to test for these attributes with low risk, nudge those who are amenable toward cooperative and profitable behaviors, and cull out those who are not (at least until there is reason to think they might be more ready to cooperate). Many posts on this blog explore various aspects of how to do that, in various business use cases.

Of course it is still essential to make the process as simple and seamless as possible. More of the theory behind that is outlined in
Thinking Fast and Slow about FairPay: A New Psychology for Commerce in a Networked Age.

(As to the related question of how can we leverage our early learning to quickly make FairPay more simple and habitual, I will address that in a companion post.) 

Natural businesses for FairPay

Some businesses will naturally motivate willingness and dedication of their customers to be fair -- and some naturally attract more than their share of customers who are already predisposed to such behavior. Other posts have examined the application of FairPay to some such businesses in detail, for example:
Those (and other human creator-driven businesses) are some that are obvious naturals, but many other kinds of companies have already established themselves as having a "customer-first" attitude that makes them deserving of Communal Relationship Norms -- demonstrating that they consistently seek to deliver quality products and services, care about dealing fairly with their customers and are respondive to their individual needs. Such business are also in a prime position to start applying FairPay to their most promising customer segments. (Check out my more comprehensive list of Application/Market Sectors that seem especially likely to do well with FairPay.)

Whatever the field of business, a critical success factor will be the ongoing demonstration of customer-first behaviors that continually lead customers to see the business as responsively listening, and deserving of their trust and generosity.

Grabbing the low-hanging fruit

The next question is just which phase of the customer journey to start with -- to further maximize likely success and minimize risk. Three areas are especially promising as starting points for testing:
Other possibilities include selection of test populations in any way that limits risk and targets segments that appreciate the value of the offering and the personalized value proposition, such as:
  • Usage or style segments
  • Content segments (such as long-tail items, or by genre)
  • Device segments
  • Family plans
  • Segments that can highlight “deserving” sellers
  • Trials, specials, coupons
  • Distinct branding or white label offers.
Keep in mind that these can focus on either high value/usage or low value/usage segments. An important feature of FairPay is the price discrimination that justifies lower prices to those who get lower value. For example, retention offers can focus on low usage customers who are well justified in seeking to pay less that the usual all-you-can-eat price. In such cases, those who are asked to pay more can be given to understand why it is that these others pay less, even if that fact becomes known.

Staging the learning process

FairPay is well suited to a step-wise introduction that allows for testing and learning at low cost and risk. The idea is to let both the business and the customers ease into the new logic of FairPay and learn how to apply it effectively. This is addressed in the post FairPay “Free Trial”/“Survey” Mode – Easing into the FP Waters -- And Understanding Your Customers. The Trial/Survey mode it describes can generate significant learning with only simple software -- that can help shape a full FairPay implementation, as well as generate customer value perception data that is valuable in its own right -- even if the project goes no further.

The thin end of the wedge

All of these strategies can lead to effective trials that will serve as the thin end of the wedge of behavior change. The initial strategy should be to find these sweet spots and do low-risk controlled tests there. Businesses and customers will begin to see good results and learn how to apply this kind of win-win strategy. That will generate a virtuous cycle, to increase the loyalty and CLV of the initial customers, then to attract more customers to the game, and then to lead a growing range of firms to create FairPay zones, which will then bring more customers who are ready and willing to cooperate in this more win-win mode of commerce.

With this kind of focused, and carefully staged approach, the risks can be kept small and easily managed, the learning can be done over time, and the potential rewards can be immense!


----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Panic in the Streets! Now People are Ready to Patron-ize Journalism!

FairPay provides a better way to make that work well for all of us.

The current political angst reminds us how important journalism is, and that it depends on patrons to sustain it. This recent NY Times article shows that now, more than ever, people will pay for journalism:

Nonprofit Journalism Groups Are Gearing Up With Flood of Donations


(The article notes that this flurry of support applies to both non-profits, and for-profit publishers like the Times.) [UPDATE 12/19/16: "By Attacking the Press, Donald Trump May Be Doing It a Favor" by Jim Rutenberg makes the point of a resurgence in patronship even more strongly]

But now that journalism has our attention, what is the best way to sustain it?
  • Some patronship can come from rich benefactors -- but much of it must come from consumers.
  • Advertising was rarely enough, and is no longer a very valuable revenue source at all.
  • Donations are great, as far as they go -- but awkward and unreliable. 
  • Publishers need a reliable consumer revenue stream. 
  • FairPay relationship pricing can turn that into a science, and make it far more effective -- channeling willingness to pay, into real, ongoing support for serious, costly, investigation and analysis. It can work for both for profit publishers, and for non-profits. It offers a systematic process, one that is win-win for publishers and consumers -- one that is smoother, more systematic, and more effective than a fund drive process.

My post on this from last year, Patron-izing Journalism -- Beyond Paywalls, Meters, and Membership, is now all the more timely. It explains how FairPay goes beyond paywalls and membership models to make journalism sustainable. I hope you will read it.


...And on why media technology matters, and how to enhance that...

This new attention to supporting journalism also relates to a still broader interest of mine - developing electronic media to make us smarter, not dumber. The 2016 election has made it all too clear that growing concerns some of us had about the failing promise of our new media are now far more acute than we had imagined.

We suddenly see that our problem of echo chambers and filter bubbles has reached a crisis point. While the vision has been that new media could "augment human intelligence," it instead seems that our media are "de-augmenting" our intelligence. I have had an interest in this area since the 1970s, and have addressed some aspects of it, and a direction toward a remedy, in a post on my other blog that is now very timely:  Filtering for Serendipity -- Extremism, "Filter Bubbles" and "Surprising Validators."  Others such as Tim O'Reilly and Eli Pariser have taken renewed interest in this problem (and in my suggestions). (I plan to comment further on this soon in that other blog.) [UPDATE: 2016: Fake News, Echo Chambers, Filter Bubbles and the "De-Augmentation" of Our Intellect.]


----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.



Thursday, December 1, 2016

How Market Commerce Can Become More Cooperative, Fair, and Human



A recent conference on Platform Cooperativism spurred some thoughts on how FairPay offers a path toward a new convergence of traditional ideas about market capitalism and alternative ideas about a "Fairness Economy." (This conference drew added attention from a Wired article about the idea that Twitter should become a co-op, "Let's Build the Next Twitter Like the Green Bay Packers.")

In exploring the concepts of a more win-win approach to commerce called FairPay, I have seen a spectrum of thinking about market capitalism and its limitations as currently practiced, and how to make our economy more in tune with human social values.
  • Market capitalism has created our modern world, and proven efficient, productive, and scalable -- despite a degree of blindness to human values. 
  • That has led to growing concerns about income inequality, slowing productivity gains, and concentration of power in corporations and investors, spawning a wide range of movements to change the game. These range from
    1) incremental steps like "Corporate Social Responsibility," "Creating Shared Value," and "Triple Bottom Lines," to
    2) benefit corporations and other more softly profit-oriented structures, and to
    3) more sharply different forms of organization like cooperatives (and other non-profits).
  • The conference focused on cooperatives, a form of business that has existed for centuries, and harnesses the same spirit as Open Source and Peer Production, and that can now build on the openness of the Internet to put ownership of a business in the hands of its workers and/or customers.
  • All of this occurred with a backdrop of the US election, which highlighted deep concerns about an economy that no longer seems to be serving middle- and working-class people well -- a hard push for change, but one with little consensus as to what kind of change can or should be achieved. 
Meanwhile, most businesses may still be far from meaningful social consciousness in their operational core, but increasing numbers do try to tack on some efforts at "good corporate citizenship." Some would argue this is just lipstick on a pig, but others see real potential to make existing businesses much better.

Hints of convergence -- human-centered marketing

The gulf may seem huge, but deep in the heart of modern marketing, a more direct incentive to being more fair and human is emerging. Companies are realizing that in this networked age, their most important customer relationships are ongoing, and that loyalty and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) are more important than immediate sales. Companies are beginning to see that Customer Experience (CX) is central, and that they must attend at every touch-point to creating desirable Customer Journeys that build Loyalty Loops to cultivate their best customers. (Forrester recently reported that CX leaders grew at 17% per year compared to 3% for CX laggards.) This re-orientation is starting to drive companies toward deeper, more personalized dialog with their customers and more human, cooperative values.

How FairPay changes the game

FairPay enables a shift in business operations to focus on a more cooperative "co-creation" of value that improves the bottom line. That can help bridge the gap between these two very different models, by making ordinary for-profit corporations more aligned with their customers and what they value -- including human values of people and planet.

The magic of FairPay is that it can be applied in any of these ownership structures. It can work very nicely in alternative structures like co-ops, but can also work as a core operational process in ordinary for-profit businesses. It drives everyday business operations to center on the human values of each customer, in a way that makes it profitable to "do the right thing." No tacking on extra bottom lines, or a veneer of social responsibility, that compete with profit motives. FairPay serves as a kind of cooperative judo that aligns the profit motive with what the customer wants. If the customer is an owner (as with a co-op), that just adds to the alignment.

FairPay provides a structure for building relationships around value, by giving consumers limited power to set prices that correspond to the value they receive -- for as long as the seller considers them to be fair about how they do that (but not longer). This creates a balance of powers (setting prices / continuing the relationship) that rewards cooperation. It changes commerce from largely independent one-time games that are inherently zero-sum, to a repeated game that adaptively seeks win-win co-creation of value.

A new lens on market fairness

So with this new lens of FairPay -- and how it works in any kind of business to fundamentally change customer relationships into a repeated game of cooperative relationship building -- a new path becomes clear.

From one side of the divide, if we use FairPay in conventional businesses, we don't need any new enterprise structures (or any new enterprises) to start with.
  • Conventional corporations can introduce FairPay into their ongoing operations, as an alternative pricing option -- one that drives a new kind of cooperation between a business and its customers (and they can start to do this in limited, controlled market segments).
  • This cooperation focuses on win-win value propositions based on structured dialogs about value that can include broad aspects of value, including "externalities" of people and planet that are typically ignored by our markets (but directly affect the bottom line when FairPay pricing is applied).
  • That in itself should improve things for customers, workers, stockholders, and society at large.
At the same time, we can build from the other side and create new platform cooperatives (or other new models in that vein). They show considerable promise, and FairPay can add to that promise.
  • The same kind of cooperative dialogs about value that FairPay creates in a for-profit business can be applied by a co-op or other non-profit or hybrid form, with the same benefits.
  • Such methods can be expected to be especially effective in such contexts, because of the deeper alignment of values on the part of the alternative business, and the greater willingness to pay of consumer "cooperators" when the business entity is theirs. (More on this in an earlier post, A Better Revenue Strategy for Non-Profits in the Digital Era.)
Thus FairPay offers a common operational logic that can serve as a bridge toward convergence from both sides, wherever along the spectrum we are.
  • Conventional businesses can become more cooperative and aligned with customer and social values, and help instill more cooperative behavioral norms in themselves and their customers -- even in a for-profit, capitalist context. 
  • That sets the stage for further shifts toward cooperation in for-profits -- as well as a more fertile environment for alternative structures.
  • Likewise, alternative structures (non-profits or hybrids) can benefit from the fair and efficient FairPay pricing process that is more attractive and more self-sustaining than conventional pricing. The power of FairPay may be even greater in such alternative structures -- even if such structures are not as operationally efficient as profit-driven structures in some respects, FairPay might enable them to achieve greater price-efficiency to offset that, drawing on their more inherently mutual incentive structure.
Both camps can coexist and seek to flourish as they are able, and each can help drive the growth of an ecosystem that benefits all productive players, as well as society at large. Whatever mix it is that flourishes in any given context, and any point in time, we all can win with FairPay.

----

For a full introduction to FairPay see the Overview and the sidebar on How FairPay Works (just to the right, if reading this at FairPayZone.com). There is also a guide to More Details (including links to a video).

Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.