Attention is new currency

Some companies just do not get it.

It starts with an email, like this one:

By coincidence, you are on project that has the CRM component so you decide to check it out and click on link. After all, it is free, right, so why wouldn’t you ?

The catch is that it is not free at all. Without realizing it, you have already made your first payment, by doing the sender a favor: as we know, clicking on a link in email is definitely not a good idea and recommended behaviour, unless you know the sender and trust the sender. Which – in this case – you have absolutely no reason to.

The link that promises to lead to the free whitepaper, ends up here:

So the “free whitepaper” is not quite free and you  just continue paying – with most precious currency: your time. First you need to spend the 10-15 minutes to fill out the lengthy form. Then another chunk of your time to actually read what you downloaded, just to find out that (in 9 out of 10 cases) it is useless, fluffy marketing material. If you pay attention to fine print below, you’ll find out that you have just subscribed to unknown number of similar spammy mailing lists and will be receiving many more offers for “free” stuff. Add more payments: time spent on weeding them out from Inbox for the rest of the email address’ lifetime … because majority of Unsubscribe links are (similar to unicorns) purely mythical constructs.

This behaviour is so much last century and comes from today completely invalid assumption: that information is something precious, valuable that needs to be protected, guarded and given only for exchange for your privacy. In today’s world, there is abundance of information that competes for readers attention. Rather then asking for anything upfront just to gain access, the authors should be happy and honored that in the world of so many options, somebody actually wants to invest time and effort to get more familiar with their product or service or whatever are they selling. Because they are selling – the only reason for the form-guarded “free” stuff is to sell, either by using the content in question or by following up. After all, they have all information to reach you …

I am not against selling or marketing – I just want the sellers to be honest about it. If you really want to collect any information for follow up, how about at minimum provide at least a preview of what the information is about. All respected sellers of eBooks do that – give you at minimum free chapter and TOC as free (I mean *really* free) download. This seems to be such easy and obvious thing, that I am surprised that even respectable companies (such as Citrix in this case) go for this ineffective trickery just to squeeze out contact information from possible audience. It is so easy to create disposable email or use services like http://10minutemail.com/

But much easier than using self-destroying email is simply click on next search result link. Why would one expect to gain anything useful from whitepaper produced by company that does not get the basics ?

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