The Fan Economy: Becoming Fan Focused

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Information about The Fan Economy: Becoming Fan Focused
Business & Mgmt

Published on February 17, 2009

Author: bud_caddell



Once upon a time, the internet was supposed to be a great homogenizer. With common information, in common places, we were all supposed to become one mass audience – ripe for the picking. Right.

2009 the fan economy Bud Caddell Strategist, Undercurrent

Once upon a time, the internet was supposed to be the great homogenizer.

With common information, in common places, we were all supposed to become one mass audience – ripe for the picking.

This was not an original idea.

Fortunately, the world is far too complex for homogeneity.

The web has made constructing our identity through niche communities more visible, accessible, and rewarding.

And whatever we hunger, we can find others like us offering the means to satiate that hunger.

Which means the days of the captive audience are gone.

Welcome to today. Welcome to standing for nothing means standing alone.

Welcome to the recession.

Today, we must commit our budgets to have the greatest measurable impact on human interaction.

Which means we can’t waste our diminishing ad budgets on another awareness play.

Fans are our new economy.

A dollar spent on fans is a dollar spent on retention, recruitment, R&D and longevity.

Fans don’t just buy our products, they convince their friends to give us a try.

And because we all define our digital identity around our fandom, fans are now easier and more cost effective to find and engage online.

And engagement begins simply by listening.

Fans are practiced at voicing their opinions. Understanding their desires and their motivations is absolutely critical.

Make no mistake, 2009 will wipe the floor with unremarkable ideas.

Customers come and go, but fans fight for your survival.

2008 provided some fine examples for how we can engage with fans in 2009.

Pent-up fan demand for the McFly lead to lines around buildings and pairs going for $2,000 on eBay.

Nevermind pay-as-you- like, it was the box-set that was the fan focused product, and Radiohead sold over 100,000 at $80 each.

Avril Lavigne puts as much content as she can on her YouTube channel. And it’s estimated she made a cool $2 million from her fan’s views.

Mountain Dew created a game to let their fans engineer the next flavor from scratch. The candidate flavors flew off the shelves.

Virgin America teamed up with HBO to offer the Entourage experience on flights from NYC to Las Vegas through a new ‘Entourage’ first class ticket.

Joss didn’t let a little thing like a writer’s strike stop him. Casual observers watched for free, but fans pushed the show and soundtrack to #1 on Tunes. i

Tune-in may have been down, but the advertising drama, Mad Men, had fans engaging fans, creating their own content and awareness for the show.

A bridge in his name, a hockey team’s mascot, humbling Kanye; Stephen Colbert deftly engages his fan community, the Colbert Nation.

H&M, Target, and others work with mega-names in fashion to make high design more accessible to hungry fan communities.

The ways to play with fans are many, but to become a fan focused organization you need 3 key ingredients.* *Garnish as you please.

It’s time to stand for something; to use your size and power for the advocacy of an ideal. A Point of View

A Belief in Infinity Fandom defies conventions of time, space, and material. Relationships require more than a single campaign.

Fandom demands pliability, and cultural significance requires exposing yourself to the mechanisms of culture (e.g. remixing). Open Source Relationships

In 2009, I challenge you to become fan focused. Don’t spend a dime outside of fan communities. Not a red cent.

About Me My name is Bud Caddell. I work as a Strategist at the New York based digital think-tank Undercurrent. Find me across the web at About This Deck All sources, stories, and images can be found at The illustrations used were stolen from the amazing artist Gerd Arntz., more info at I’d be honored if you stole anything from this deck.

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