Wikipedia defines “a gift or a present as the transfer of something, without the need for compensation that is involved in trade. A gift is a voluntary act which does not require anything in return. Even though it involves possibly a social expectation of reciprocity, or a return in the form of prestige or power, a gift is meant to be free.”
To be powerful a gift needs two more features that could be seen as completely the opposite of each other: being expected and a surprise at the same time.
A good gift should be :
- a voluntary act of transfer of something without the need for compensation
- expected (it may fit a need that is unstated or known from a casual conversation
- a surprise, being unsuspected from the giver at the moment of the gift was.
Information as a Gift ™ has these three characteristics.
The end of the scarcity age in developed countries resulted in consumers being overwhelmed by the huge number and variety of goods and services.
“Am I buying the right digital camera? Am I getting the best treatment for my chronic ulcer? Am I signing up for the right service?” This is what the inner voice of each consumer is saying when the consumer faces this “hell of choice.”
There are, in fact, vast amounts of information available to respond to these questions, and there are several channels, “But who has the leisure and the proficiency needed to sort through and evaluate all these products and services? And the burgeoning complexity of offerings, as well as the associated risks and reward, confounds and frustrates most time-starved consumers. Product variety has not necessarily resulted in better consumer experiences.”
As a result, consumers are lost. Information comes to them as noise. And every day this noise grows thicker and thicker, putting a lot of strain on consumers. No one believes the noise fatigue to be his problem, but everyone just adds his own noise. In their search for relevant, trustworthy information, consumers find themselves needing to filter the Noise Belt themselves.
Since one company alone can no longer autonomously create consumer experience, individual customers are increasingly forced to interact with a network of companies and consumer communities to make sense of the offer and to create their own experiences. The situation forces customers to go from “somewhere” to “somewhere else” to make sense of their fragmented lives.
To do this effectively, consumers need to filter vast amounts of information, most of which isn’t very good. When consumers need answers, they may end up sifting through contradicting advice, opinionated content and a lot of pretty crappy material. They’ll waste plenty of time.
Desperate to bring order to the chaos and get the information they can trust to make an informed decision, consumers have turned in droves to the Internet for advice. They have turned to machines (search engines), or strangers (social web, recommendation sites), and self-declared influentials have proliferated. Some of these “influentials” even abuse this desperate situation for their own benefit.
Search engines have become the main source through which people find information. In a report published in July, 2008, 9 seven of the 10 top web properties are search engines and 22 of the 50 top web properties are search engines or directories. Browse and search has become the most time-consuming and frustrating activity for consumers.
Unfortunately, even with a search engine it’s becoming more and more difficult to find relevant and trustworthy information. 75% of initial search engine results are not satisfactory, and 28 percent of search queries end with no satisfactory answer at all. This fact is borne out by Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, who recently declared that “the Internet is fast becoming a ‘cesspool’ where false information thrives” with lots of unverifiable garbage, and where quality of content is poorer and less relevant.
For example, a high page ranking in Google search results may not mean you’re getting the best information, but rather information from the guy who is smarter at search engine optimization. There may be many other web sites which offer just as good or even better services than the top-ranking website, but you won’t see them because they are less talented at manipulating their search engine rankings. In this type of environment, many people take advantage of beginners and uninformed consumers. That means you need to think twice before picking any solution based on search engines results.
Google and other search engines are also limited by the content available on the “open web.” You can have access to the most powerful search technology available, but if the content/potential answer is not on the “open web,” the technology makes no difference. A huge amount of content/potential answer is unavailable to search engines, accessible only through specialized database, fee-based services, books, experience or conversation. People often waste time searching Google or other open web engines for material that isn’t available via the web, or that could be accessed in less time using specialized database or resources, or connecting to knowledgeable people.
The IRaaS solution :
IRaaS network is a technology-powered group of companies and professionals that collaboratively filter vast amount of information, verify it, put their “stamp of approval” on it, and deliver it to consumers based on their stated or unstated needs. Through IRaaS, you can fulfill your customers’ needs for contextual, relevant, trustworthy, and timely information.
For each member company, joining an IRaaS network is an opportunity to gain influence by becoming a trusted source of information and connection for customers and clients. Each member becomes a community influencer, starts being perceived as an empathetic business, and creates deep and lasting customer relationships.
You become known as a powerful resource for others—and when you have the reputation for being a strong resource, people start turning to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, connections, etc. This keeps you visible and your business top-of-mind when people need your products and services. This, in turn, will greatly increase the number of referrals your customers will send to your business.