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VPI and the Power of Voice

Posted on: Friday 10th of July 2009

Our new report on Volunteered Personal Information (VPI) is based on our previous analysis of the evolution of ‘consumer empowerment’.

Basically, we can see four distinct phases of empowerment.

  • Phase 1: choice – the ability to choose between products and services
  • Phase 2: choice – the ability to choose between different sources of information
  • Phase 3: decision-making – the ability to process information from different sources to make (and implement) better decisions
  • Phase 4: voice (or VPI) – the ability to share the information generated in the course of my decision-making processes with other parties I choose to do business with.

Right now, the media, most marketers (and therefore most organisations) are fixated on the shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2: people being less influenced by advertising and more influenced by each other via peer-to-peer networking.

But compared to Phases 3 and 4 it’s small beer. (I’ve started talking about these different phases in this blog, and will return to this project soon!)

Phase 3 is the epicentre of an entirely new industry of personal information management services – services that help me gather, store, manage and share the information I need to organise and manage my life better. They will change – are already changing – the way individuals and organisations relate to each other.

Phase 4 is the source of a new value explosion – what happens when information about demand (i.e. VPI from the individual) meets information about supply. Answer in a nutshell: less guesswork and waste, more resources concentrated on providing real value. Better value at lower cost – improved by an order of magnitude.

As I said in my previous post, it’s hard to get communicate the scale/importance of this shift. But we really do need to get our heads round it.