A series of technologies and actions can bring the micron-verse to life in the coming years.
The first building block is a micron publishing platform. Most email campaign management platforms tend to be quite complicated because emails themselves have become complex to create over time. Microns are simple: short and with a single element (text or image or an interactive component). The publishing platform also enables “story microns” – a sequenced set of microns where every subscription starts with the first in the series. This contrasts to the “daily fresh” microns where all subscribers get the same micron on any given day. Every micron should have an ‘AMPlet’ – an AMP-enabled element which converts static content into dynamic interaction. This also brings in that extra surprise and excitement in every micron – making it more likely that every micron gets opened.
The second complementary block is subscription management. This will typically happen via the brand – an email address is what is needed to activate the subscription. Every micron also has a clearly visible “Unsubscribe” option putting the control with the recipient. Email addresses can also be added automatically by brands via an API – thus logged in users don’t have to re-enter email addresses.
The pubsub (publish-subscribe) blocks are what get the micron system going for both brands and their subscribers. The next set of blocks improve on both publishing and consumption.
The third block is a toolkit to improve micron making. Microns can be automatically created from existing content which can be serialised. Microns can also be made by humans – connected to brand managers via a marketplace. What’s needed is a content factory that keeps the microns coming. An added touch can be a no-code AMP publishing system that simplifies the creation of standard AMP elements like quizzes, surveys and feedback.
The fourth block is a rewards system. As we saw earlier, just 1 in 7 brand emails are opened. Our objective with microns is to eliminate waste (unopened emails). Gamifying the process wherein every micron is opened and each action earns points which can then be encashed for rewards is a way to incentivise the right customer behaviour (from a brand’s perspective). Additional points can be given for ‘streaks’ – consistently opening brand mails daily without a break.
The fifth block is the micronbox, a custom inbox for viewing and engaging with microns. Brands should be able to directly publish to this micronbox – as long as they have permission to do so. Customers can get a significantly upgraded viewing experience than the conventional email inbox with its linear list of incoming emails. The micronbox has the potential to transform brand-customer engagement the way WhatsApp upgraded person-to-person mobile communications from the SMS inbox.
The sixth and final block is the profile sharing system. Every individual can maintain a catalogue of personal information which they can selectively share with brands based on trust and rewards. The more the profile sharing, the better will be the incoming microns. At a basic level, it could just be age, gender and location. At the next level, it could be static preferences. At an even higher level, it could be my current requirements – where the brand gets to know that there is a near-term product or service need they can fulfil.
These six building blocks offer a significant and mutually beneficial upgrade to the brand-customer relationship and bring the full power of the micron-verse to life. They also offer new opportunities for entrepreneurs to construct the different components. There are many more ideas from our current world that we can re-imagine in this new micron-powered future: paid microns (where content creators become the ‘brands’ and offer microcontent for a fee rather than free), affiliates (who can provide a smoother middle layer for connecting buyers and sellers), game developers (who can fill those gaps with puzzles and creative interludes) and product-led agencies (who can offer micron publishing for free in return for a success fee for specific outcomes like reactivation of a dormant subscriber base).