MyHaystack.com is both a branded consumer organizational service and a proprietary market research and communications tool. The core of MyHaystack.com is a comprehensive database that links consumers with product or service use. A transaction-monitoring portion of the database maintains a history of when items are filed, archived, or deleted from a consumer’s filing cabinet. Queries on the database will serve as the market research engine for client research.
MyHaystack.com provides value to consumers in exchange for their personal information. Customer acquisition is driven by business-to-business partnerships with manufacturers and service providers, as well as partnerships with third party Internet incentive programs. Consumers log in to a personalized organizational system through a branded Internet site and have access to free personalized content. They can also subscribe to additional services, product notices, and targeted marketing messages.
For Business Clients
Business clients that subscribe to MyHaystack.com market intelligence will have access to the MyHaystack.com database through online market research tools. The tools provide a number of predefined database search and analysis functions. Unique to the MyHaystack.com database is the ability to capture time-series data that is utilized to perform lifecycle marketing analysis and regression analysis. MyHaystack.com also captures consumer ownership data from both the online and the brick-and-mortar worlds, providing a more comprehensive consumer profile.
How it Works
Documents stored in a MyHaystack.com account are organized in a simple hierarchical structure. Each account consists of six predefined categories for documents and information: Product Ownership, Personal Finance, Insurance, Clubs and Groups, Health, and Professional. Users can add customized categories or eliminate existing categories based on their organizational requirements.
Enhanced functionality allows information to be easily located and manipulated across categories. The integrated MyHaystack.com search engine is able to search the entire MyHaystack.com database or limit the search to information linked to a user account or specific document. Reports can be generated based on category, a complete alphabetical listing, or the date each item was entered. Qualifiers allow data that is no longer valid to be archived or deleted based on consumer needs. A section on user tips addresses varying skill levels by integrating help functions and step-by-step guides.
Customers have the option to receive product specific information and targeted marketing by email or as a part of their personalized account. When a product or service is registered, the user selects the level of information he/she wishes to receive. These preferences can be changed at anytime. All online direct marketing offers will be in a separate window so as not to clutter the overall organizational look and feel of the site.
Development of a prototype database and Web service is projected to take 14 to 16 weeks from initial project launch. The prototype site includes product registration and information, access to bill paying services, online document storage, and general consumer information. The sections that will be deployed in the first production launch of the service are Financial, Health, Insurance, Groups, and Professional.
3.1 Service Description
MyHaystack.com serves as an infomediary between business clients and the consumer marketplace. The company enables product manufacturers and consumer service providers to deliver targeted market communications to a predefined consumer base. MyHaystack.com also provides market intelligence through an interactive market research tool and periodic industry analysis reports.
MyHaystack.com is built around an automated, online, organizational system that replaces the home filing cabinet as a repository of critical consumer information. This application provides value to the consumer in exchange for their personal information. The information is then used in demographic sampling and general market research.
Customer acquisition is driven by business-to-business partnerships with manufacturers and service providers, as well as affiliations with third party incentive programs. Consumers log in to MyHaystack.com through a branded destination website. Once logged in, they have access to a personalized organizational service. Registered users have access to free content available on the site and can subscribe to additional services, product notices, and targeted marketing messages.
MyHaystack.com is a free service to the consumer. Revenue is generated through service fees charged to MyHaystack.com clients for market communications and market intelligence. Database Posting is free to clients and strategic partners but other activities generate revenue as follows:
Business Client Service Fees
- Individual Filing- MyHaystack.com clients will be charged a per-user fee to file personalized documents in a MyHaystack.com user filing cabinet. This fee replaces the cost of printing, addressing, and mailing individual documents. Estimated cost for an Individual Filing is between $0.50 and $5.75 per user.
- Dynamic Posting- Dynamic Posting may be used to distribute highly targeted marketing messages as well as customer service communications. Because MyHaystack.com users have agreed to receive Dynamic Postings, the response rate is expected to be 15% to 20% higher than other forms of online advertising. Estimated cost per thousand (CPM) for a single Dynamic Posting is between $10 and $250, or $0.01 and $0.25 per user reached.
- Annual Subscriptions- Annual client subscriptions to the MyHaystack.com service allow varying levels of access to online market research tools and research reports. Typical annual subscription rates are between $10,000 and $15,000 per client.
- Research Reports- Periodic research reports are available individually or for an annual subscription fee. The fee varies based on the type of report and the detail of the data and analysis presented. Monthly reports cost between $250 and $1,000. Quarterly reports cost between $2,500 and $5,000.
In addition to the core revenue sources presented above, MyHaystack.com offers select fee-based services to users. These include extended warranty purchases, online bill paying, and document archiving. MyHaystack.com may generate revenue through transaction or commission fees on some or all of these types of services.
3.1.1 Market Communications
Market communications services are designed to allow product manufacturers or service providers to communicate directly with both their existing and their potential customer base. Three independent channels of communication serve different information delivery needs. They are as follows:
- Database Posting- Database Posting is used to provide information to all MyHaystack.com registered users. Information in a Database Posting is generally static data that applies to a specific product or service provided by the MyHaystack.com client. Examples include product manuals, tech support or company contact information, and company annual reports. Users link documents to their personalized filing cabinet. Changes to the information in the MyHaystack.com database are then seamlessly updated in each user account.
- Dynamic Posting- Dynamic Posting is used to provide current information to a targeted group of MyHaystack.com users. Current information can be product or service related but may also include direct marketing messages and promotional offers. Customers will be targeted based on a cross-reference of information in their filing cabinets and a willingness to accept certain types of communication. Dynamic Postings generally appear in email or in an independent window within a user’s workspace.
- Individual Filing- An Individual Filing is a personalized document that is delivered directly into a user’s filing cabinet. Customers receive the document based on individual ID numbers, product registrations, or by subscription. In general, MyHaystack.com clients will only be able to submit Individual Filings to their own customer base. Examples of Individual Filings include financial statements, insurance policies, and product receipts.
3.1.2 Market Intelligence
Market intelligence is derived from consumer data acquired through the organizational service. Clients have access to market intelligence 24 hours per day through an online research tool. They may also choose to receive monthly and quarterly industry analysis reports. The MyHaystack.com online research tool uses predefined analysis functions that allow clients to view real-time information from the MyHaystack.com database. However, clients are restricted from directly accessing customer names and addresses without customer permission. Further restrictions are in place to protect the confidential information of individual clients.
Initial functionality targets competitive market analysis, consumer demographic information, and product ownership data. Later functionality will allow “What-if” scenarios by performing customized queries and conjoint analysis. Unique to the MyHaystack.com information structure is the ability to capture time-series data used to perform lifecycle marketing analysis and regression analysis. The methodology employed by MyHaystack.com also permits consumers to register products and services purchased in the brick-and-mortar world, increasing the breadth of consumer market data.
Monthly reports are designed as a low cost market research tool that meets the needs of a broad variety of consumer-oriented businesses. Each monthly report provides quantitative analysis of industry segments in a standardized format that allows subscribers to track monthly trends. Quarterly reports are designed to provide a much deeper understanding of the consumer marketplace. These reports analyze information gathered over a number of months or years. Data mining techniques are applied to identify relationships between related data components and consumer behavior. Forecasts are incorporated to maximize the value of the information presented. Research reports will be sold individually or as part of an annual subscription.
The MyHaystack.com website consists of four main components: a client interface, supporting database infrastructure, data analysis tools, and a user interface. MyHaystack.com has established a preliminary agreement with a technology development agency to design and develop a prototype of the MyHaystack.com site. Additional development will be conducted internally using MyHaystack.com resources.
Clients access the MyHaystack.com site to conduct market intelligence research and to submit information for market communications. Market intelligence services will be provided through a series of standardized data queries that are accessible through a secure browser connection. Graphic data formatting and the ability to download raw data will be incorporated in to the interface.
The MyHaystack.com data infrastructure is based on a structured query language (SQL) database system. A minimum of three database tables are necessary: a detailed customer database, a detailed client database, and a transaction database that maintains a transaction history. Additional database tables will be added as functionality increases. Available production data-mining software will be used to generate detailed analysis of the MyHaystack.com database. Additional analytic functions may be designed internally.
The end-user interface will be created using industry standard server-based development tools. As the objective is a browser accessible interface, likely programming languages are Sun Microsystems’ JAVA or Microsoft’s Active Server Page technology. The user interface will be developed such that it can be easily hosted on multiple, scalable systems and is not directly tied to the database architecture. End-user security is a primary concern.
The MyHaystack.com service will be deployed in two phases. The first phase will be the deployment of an initial prototype site that offers some of the core functionality but is not a comprehensive service. The functionality of the prototype site will include product registration, extended warranty registration and sales, online bill paying and archiving, online data file storage, and a Dynamic Posting system. Additional functionality will be integrated in the production system in the second phase of deployment.
3.2 Web Plan Summary
The MyHaystack.com branded website is an organizational system that manages the most common information stored in a home filing cabinet. The service makes user documents and information more accessible while minimizing the level of user maintenance. MyHaystack.com delivers electronic product and service information, insurance policy information, financial records, and similar documentation directly into user accounts. The organizational structure includes an interactive, easy-to-use, interface with personalized search, archiving, and retrieval functionality. Users have control of the type, frequency, and source of the Individual Filings and Dynamic Postings they receive.
Documents stored in a MyHaystack.com account are organized in a simple hierarchical structure. Each account consists of six predefined categories for documents and information: Product Ownership, Personal Finance, Insurance, Clubs and Groups, Health, and Professional. Users can add customized categories or eliminate existing categories based on their organizational requirements. Enhanced functions take advantage of cross-references between organizational categories and simplify information retrieval. Information such as direct marketing offers, product recall notifications, and warranty expiration reminders are delivered to consumers based on the level of permission they have indicated.
Enhanced functionality allows information to be easily located and manipulated across categories. The integrated MyHaystack.com search engine is able to search the entire MyHaystack.com database or limit the search to information linked to a user account. This functionality allows registered users to access a product manual even if they do not register the product. Alternatively, users may search the products they have registered to verify compatibility with new purchases. Online reports can be generated based on category, a complete alphabetical listing, or the date each item was entered. Qualifiers allow data that is no longer valid to be archived or deleted based on consumer needs. A section on user tips addresses varying skill levels by integrating help functions and step-by-step guides.
Customers have the option to receive product specific information and targeted marketing by email or as a part of their personalized account. When a product or service is registered, the user selects the level of information he/she wishes to receive. These preferences can be changed at anytime and all online direct marketing offers will be in a separate window so as not to clutter the overall organizational look and feel of the site.
3.2.1 Product Ownership Example
The product ownership category captures and manages critical data for every item a consumer registers online. Initially, products are registered by selecting the appropriate manufacturer, product name, and model number from a series of drop-down menu items. Eventually, online retailers will offer the option to send product information directly to MyHaystack.com at the time of purchase. For example, if a user purchases a VCR, the sales receipt, product model, and purchase location will be forwarded to the MyHaystack.com database. Using the consumer’s account number, the record will be linked with the relevant documents stored in the MyHaystack.com database. When the consumer logs on to MyHaystack.com, his/her personal filing cabinet will automatically reflect the new purchase.
In addition to accessing updates and information online, users can opt to receive update information by email. The most basic level of information includes notices identifying products that have been recalled or modified since they were originally purchased. A more personalized level offers targeted direct marketing through MyHaystack.com partners. Targeted marketing may be ‘buy now’ online offers or coupons that can be used at a brick-and-mortar business. Up-to-date product information is easily accessible to the user at any time from any location.