Friday, July 24, 2015

The Naples Forum on Service -- Co-Creation of Value, and FairPay as Co-Pricing

I presented the concepts of FairPay -- in collaboration with two prominent professors of marketing -- to international leaders in an emerging branch of marketing theory at the Naples Forum on Service on June 11th. It was very encouraging to see how the work I have done from a pragmatic, non-academic perspective resonates with those at the leading edge of theory.

This 5th Naples Forum on Service is dedicated to the areas of Service Science, Service-Dominant Logic (in contrast to traditional Goods-Dominant Logic), and Network Theory, which all relate to emerging recognition that business is really about the "co-creation of value" by consumers, service providers, and other "actors," and that the production and sale of goods (which provide "value-in-use") is just one aspect of this larger concept of service. This has become a focus not only in academia, but in forward-thinking companies like IBM.

FairPay and Co-Pricing

My collaboration with Adrian Payne and Pennie Frow began when I contacted Adrian about his pioneering book on Relationship Marketing, with the idea that FairPay was very aligned with his thinking.  That led to discussions of his more recent work on business as co-creation (see Strategic Customer Management by Adrian and Pennie), and how that involves many co-creation activities, including co-pricing.  The theoretical ideas of the co-pricing aspect have not yet been well developed, partly because examples of co-pricing (like value or outcomes-based pricing, and pay what you want) have been limited in applicability relative to other, more studied, aspects of co-creation. 

We think FairPay has immediate potential to radically change business practices in a way that puts a powerful new form of co-pricing at the forefront of digital content businesses (as described throughout this blog).  Likely initial applications are for digital offerings to consumers in markets such as journalism, e-books, music, video and other content, as well as games and other apps -- both directly between service providers and consumers, and via aggregator/distributor platforms. 

The slides from our presentation are now available on online, and the abstract is now published in the book of abstracts (page 51).

Research Directions

My experience at The Forum reinforced my personal view that FairPay (or a variation on its theme) will not only change a wide swath of business, but will also change the theory of marketing and economics more broadly. My work on FairPay highlights how current practices in pricing fail to correlate well to value-in-use -- and it is value-in-use that is at the core of our markets (whether we recognize it or not). Whether in practice, or just as a thought experiment, thinking more about practical ways to make prices better correlate to value-in-use (and to view that over relationships, not just transactions) will enable us to change how our economy works, and very much for the better for all.


Adrian, Pennie, and I have started on a more formal paper -- and we seek other collaborators who can help us do field trials of FairPay.  This could be an unusual opportunity to do research that not only advances theory, but potentially gains wide recognition from managers and the general public -- by solving urgent problems in finding good business models for the rapidly evolving digital space. (If you have interest in assisting, or suggestions of those who might, please contact me: fairpay [at] teleshuttle [dot] com.)