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We are working on building an econometric index that will be a 30-day good predictor of the economy, in particular a good predictor of major stock indexes. Thus this index will be actionable, providing buy or sell signals for traders, or whether or not businesses should increase hiring / spending money vs. firing / holding cash.

We would like to make a version of our index available for free to everyone. Here's an idea that we had about how to monitize this index:

  • Index based on blurred data -- data corrupted by blending it with significant amount (50%) of noise -- is made available for free. This corrupted index still has some good predictive power.
  • Index based on pure, unaltered data, is sold via a licensing agreement. Its predictive power is much higher then the "blurred index".

Do you think this is a good monetization idea? I would love to read your feedback.

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Marketers maximize prospective buyer engagement when they enable users to experience the value of their product/service in action. This is hardly new, going back to when it was called the "puppy dog close."

My gut sense is that "blurred" versus "pure" would work, especially versus time-delayed. It sounds like your prospects could plug in blurred and get reasonably good results. This makes your free version useable, enabling you to engage them with, "Want to improve your results" messaging. (Make sure they can quantify their own improvement.) But if your free version was based on time-delay (which for a 30-day index is what, some number of days???) users would have to evaluate it in a separate process: take some readings, check back in five days, compare with other predictive data, etc. (This would make it a real pain to do paper trading, for example.) I suppose you will find some people who you could entice to monitor its effectiveness like this, but the difference between that and running it parallel with existing decision support tools feels significant.

But only your prospective customers know for sure. 

Sounds like you've identified customer segments. So outline their characteristics and sketch out use cases. I would guess that traders with Bloomberg terminals are not likely targets, but that online traders (an enormous market) might be good ones. You might discover that some whole segments aren't good targets (or worth the effort/expense) while others are perfect fits. For instance, for which categories would a 30-day view impact hiring decisions? Business services? Probably not. Communication services? Energy? Maybe. Also important to cost/benefit, consider the issues in communicating with each segment and who composes your competition. 

Once you get a sense for these archetypes, put on their moccasins and walk a mile.


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