Microns and Mus
Microns are short, informational content delivered in a sequence to the email inbox. They can be consumed in 15-30 seconds. They are uniquely identified with the µ in the Subject. They are thus a new category of emails – neither transactional nor promotional. They offer something useful and interesting to the recipient. By using email as the transport mechanism, microns can be subscribed to and delivered to almost every Internet user. (An estimated 4 billion people have email addresses.) Email is not controlled or monopolised by any corporate entity thus making it an open communications platform. It has been around for 50 years and will probably be around for many more.
Mus are points that are earned by consumers for actions done in their engagement with brands. Initially, Mus are earned within microns: opening a micron, clicking a link, filling a survey, referrals to family and friends. Later, they could be extended beyond microns – clicking on SMSes or push notifications, downloading an app, completing a profile to share personal information with a brand, and so on. Mus are a transfer from a brand to consumers. Mus are this earned by consumers. They can be spent on rewards or gifted to others. As the use of Mus expand, they can become currency – a medium of exchange.
Mus reward attention and action. They can work across brands because they are linked to the email identity of a person. They can be thought of as a cross-brand (or coalition) loyalty program, or even like airline miles. The innovation is that for the first time, non-transaction behaviour in the form of attention and actions are being rewarded. Typically, loyalty programs are linked directly to purchase – get a certain number of points for spending money on goods and services. Mus reward brand engagement. [As far as I know, there has never been a loyalty or rewards program for multi-brand engagement.]
Each micron would show in its Subject line the total number of Mus the recipient has at any point of time along with the number of Mus to be earned for opening the specific micron. The aggregate is also updated in real-time in the body of the micron. By showing the total microns in the consumer’s wallet, spoofing is avoided since only the microns platform (MyToday) and the consumer would know the total at any point of time.
Emails are paid for by brands based on volume. So, each email has a finite non-zero cost for a brand. Microns with Mus would be different. They could be sent by a platform like MyToday for free. Only when they are opened would brands pay – and this payment would be in the form of Mus which are transferred in their entirety to the consumer. So, MyToday becomes like a loyalty program operator – an intermediary between brands and the consumers. Mus offered by brands are added to the wallets of the consumers for them to use. An attractive redemptions platform would be needed to ensure that Mus have value – thus directing favourably the attention and actions of consumers.
It all sounds interesting and exciting. So hasn’t anyone done it before?