Some business models “break” faster than others, but none is everlasting. What about your fundraising model? How is it holding up? This is a question non-profit marketers should think about no less than commercial marketers.

For example, per the NY Times, AOL has indicated it will soon abandon the iconic pay subscription model that successfully introduced millions of Americans to the online universe, and which still earns it billions per year. Instead, AOL is opting to build its future business around free (i.e., advertiser-supported) content and value-added online tools and services.

Meantime, the Economist is declaring that “the Wanamaker era” of advertising is dying (as the infamous Wanamaker line goes: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don't know which half.”). Classic mass advertising is yielding quickly now to the vastly more powerful targeting ability and interactivity of the internet as a marketing medium.

And even within the online world itself, crucial shifts are occurring. For example, search engines are effectively becoming our browsers. Netizens increasing use “Search” instead of bookmarks to locate even the web locations they visit with frequency, like Amazon. They search for “environment” or “Arctic Refuge” instead of finding and clicking on their “Sierra Club” bookmark. “So?” you ask.

Continue reading “Broken Models”

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