Dec 23, 2008

Everything In Moderation. Even Marketing


It’s a common enough experience: you sign up for email updates from a brand you genuinely like, and quickly find yourself the recipient of what basically amounts to spam.

Not because you’ve lost interest in the brand, but because they couldn’t control themselves: somehow they saw it as their duty to send you updates several times a week regardless of whether they had anything of value or interest to say. But updates for the sake of updates are most people's definition of spam, one that will soon have them searching for the “unsubscribe” button.

Now this is not some secret marketing formula I’ve cooked up: it’s common sense and most good marketers know this. So I’m surprised to see some of them throw it out the window when it comes to social media. It’s as if Facebook, Twitter and the like were immune from the laws of physics. So that I’m getting way more updates and information from certain brands than I could ever hope to process.

The worst offenders however, are those flogging their “personal brands” online. Too many of them seem to have taken the mantra “provide value” to mean that they need to retweet (literally, repost something someone else has already posted) every single blog post they encounter, rather than the ones that are truly unique or interesting or that come from a source most of their friends don’t have a connection to. (e.g. a video shared by a client in Shanghai.) And like spam, their tweeting instantly becomes noise-that-I-ignore.

One thing that strikes me about both of these situations however, is that the offenders seem to be acutely aware that there’s an audience out there watching them and so there’s a forced quality to all their emails and/or tweets, as if this was something they had to do rather than something they wanted to do. Whereas the best practitioners are clearly sending out information that reflects their own passions and if other people share in those passions, all the better.

Just something to keep in mind as we slog through the season of excess.

PS: There's an "Easter Egg" of sorts hidden (not very expertly) in this post.


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