Ever since online advertisers realized that they weren’t getting credit for offline purchases inspired by their online ads ads , there has been much talk about online leads and offline conversion. Fred Wilson talks about it here. What I would like to talk about today is the opposite and increasingly more relevant problem: The challenge for online companies to acquire customers offline.
Another example. I was sitting in Union Sq when a rock cello quartet began to play right there on the steps. They were awesome. When they finished, they passed out business cards stamped with their next live performance. I gladly accepted one of their cards.
Two weeks later. Have I downloaded or even listened to their music yet? of course not. Do I know where the card is? No. Even if i could find it, I would have to transcribe the information to the section of my notepad where I keep bands I want to research. Even if my notepad were electronic (ie I own an iphone or blackberry), there is a serious loss of conversion from the content leads written down in the “to research” section of my notepad to the content that I actually look up and consume.
Think about it. What about cool stuff you see on TV that you want to research later? Posters you see on the street? Cool restaurants that you pass by? Do you always remember to check that stuff out? I don’t, but i wish i did. It doesn’t matter what form the content is in- music, articles, videos- offline content capture is clumsy because the place where you keep your ideas is centralized but the places where you consume content are distributed.
What happens when you find content in the real world or learn about cool online content via an offline conversation with your friends ? Generally you email yourself an idea or the conversation often ends with “email it to me” or “check out my twitter.” Sometimes you remember enough specifics to be able to search for whatever you were talking about, but other times you don’t. If your friend doesn’t remember, then you have to remember email and they have to email you back. Messanging services like google and twitter often become the bottleneck or purgatory for content waiting to be consumed. The problem is that then your email becomes a “to do” list and we know that isn’t the best idea.
What do you guys think? Does anyone else think this is a problem? Does anyone have a good system for keeping track and ensuring consumption of content leads they discover offline (following up on or checking out books, restaurants, music etc)? I’d love to get some outside perspective on this.
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