Trapped With Bad Marketing

Archaic DatingYou’ve got to give credit to the guys in this photo for getting their message out. Who would have ever known they had wanted wives had they not put a sign on their cabin. Can you imagine a lady cruising by on a wagon and upon turning a corner in the trail seeing that sign and deciding to abandon her journey and settling down with one of these pioneers? Maybe that worked back in the day. Who knows? All I know is that it is not the message that would have made my wife stop in her tracks when I met her. I think it’s just bad marketing, honest, but bad.

And bad marketing drives me nuts. Before sunrise this morning I was riding my bike on my stationary trainer. Occasionally, I’ll watch a TV episode or a movie while riding. So, this morning I watched last night’s episode of Masterchef (this and The Amazing Race are our two shows). I was getting my workout in and enjoying the show when I was interrupted with an inescapable ad. There was no way out. For 45 seconds the add for some Las Vegas gaming app played on the screen and in my ears. Not only was I not interested, I became indignant that every 5-7 minutes the same ad trapped me. I am not a target audience for this add. I am very selective on which apps I install on my phone. I don’t play video or app based games of any kind. And, I don’t care for Las Vegas. Why in the world would I see this ad? Not only did the ad fall on deaf ears, I muted my headphones so I didn’t even have to listen to it. There was no opt out option. If I wanted to finish the episode then I couldn’t get away from the. I was trapped with it. So, I just ignored it.

Seth Godin, in his book Permission Marketing calls this type of advertising interruption marketing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be interrupted. Though, an interruption here and there isn’t going to kill me. I may even be introduced to a new idea if that interruption is respectful, tailored and appropriately timed. But worse than being interrupted is being trapped. Trapped marketing is interruption marketing’s bully big brother. Where interruption marketing may annoyingly hit you with a snowball trapped marketing pins you down and rubs snow in your face (something I may have done to my little sister once…sorry Steph).

I’m reading The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite by Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall. In line with Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing, this book highlights the need for marketing efforts to be valuable, invited, tailored and respectful. Port and Marshall make the point that typical sales and marketing work to get you, the buyer, to do something they want you to do. The authors suggest marketers work to do something you, the buyer, wants them to do. Meaning, typical marketing is selfish when it interrupts and traps prospects trying to force them into paying attention (think your local car dealer’s radio spot, your neighborhood realtor’s oversized postcard with their picture on it, popup ads on your favorite news blog, etc). A contrarian approach would gain permission from its audience, provide useful information when their audience needs it at a frequency desired. Hmm, that doesn’t sound too bad.

Ok, I’m wrapping up my rant. I just got a little annoyed this morning. Pay attention next time you come upon marketing. How is it positioned? Did you request it? Is it timely? Of interest?

Assuming you have only these two options which would you choose?:

A) Receive messages I don’t want, when I don’t want them, in a way I don’t want it about things in which I’m not interested

or

B) Receive valuable information when I want, the way I want it about things in which I’m interested

Now, how do we do it? Should we just put a sign on the door as wait for wives to show up?

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