The web is the web. People do new things around here every single day: They open new groups, start new projects, release new applications, publish new posts, connect with new people. It’s ever-expanding, ever-remixing, ever-renewing itself. It’s a chaotic structure in a positive sense in that it’s working – but we’re not really sure how it works, why it works, and in which direction it is heading.
And yet there are some people claiming to be in the know. They call themselves “experts” in Social Media or Web 2.0 or Viral Marketing, and they follow a million people on Twitter they have never even heard of before. Do they always know more than everybody else?
No, but they charge for it. Think about that the next time you’re writing out a check to an expert. Or you open his “free report”.
There ain’t no such Thing as a Free Report
So we decided following back this marketing guru on Twitter and he sends us an automated direct message, pointing us to his “Free Report”. The problem is, if there’s no free lunch, there ain’t no such thing as a free report, either.
By hitting the link, we’re paying him with our attention. By giving away our e-mail address, we’re paying him with our personal data. By reading his report, we’re paying him with our time. And in the end, the main question is, who’s winning in this transaction: The guru that infiltrates our brain, or we, by gaining new insights?
Permission Marketing, Customer Side
Thanks to Seth Godin, marketers nowadays will pretty much leave us alone, if we don’t ask them to bomb us. That’s great, but in the age of information overload, this often requires one further step: Disconnection.
Disconnection from the stream of words some stupid bird twitters into our ears. Disconnection from the torrent of posts that show up in our RSS feeds. Disconnection from the myriad messages that arrive in our e-mail inbox or that pop up in our iChat each and every day.
No need for hard feelings here: Just because we subscribed to a podcast and gave someone permission to talk to us, it doesn’t mean we can’t withdraw it. If the marketer sucks, we’ll just throw him out. It’s more: Even if he doesn’t suck, but he doesn’t enrich our life either, we’ll throw him out. Permission Marketing, Customer Side means: We decide whom to give our time – and for how long. In the depths of the interwebs, far too many permission marketers are waiting for us with stuff we don’t really need to know about.
Note: This post is part of a series called “Idle Musings”, that I will be publishing here every other Tuesday. I decided to put these three musings together in one post – to get rid of the marketing thoughts (from a customer perspective), that had accumulated in my head lately.