Why Opt-Out Marketing Can Hurt You

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Mon, Sep 28 - 10:59 pm EDT | 5 years ago by
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In our Recommended Reads earlier today, I mentioned a brouhaha. I had read the post from Seth Godin about Brands in Public and I originally didn’t think a lot about his announcement that the development team had created 200 sample pages to show what the site could do. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it basically aggregates all types of conversations about a brand onto one page. Ostensibly, a company could “take over” the page and control a large portion of the page, giving them a place to host conversations or respond to things elsewhere.

squidoologo But if a company wants to take over the page, they’ll need to pay Squidoo/ Brands in Public $400 a month for that “privilege.” You can look at it a couple of ways. It’s a lot cheaper than paying a social media company to collect that information for you, with not too much effort on your part. Or, you can view it as hijacking your brand and hosting yet another conversation without your (company’s) input.

A lot of people saw it as hijacking. Or brandjacking, if you will. Posts accusing Godin of such tactics garnered a lot of comments both pro and con to the new idea. It’s not the conversation gathering, though, so much as it was the sample “unofficial” pages that had already been set up that got people talking. It was decidedly an opt-out situation. And if you’ve read Godin any length of time, you’ll know his disdain for opt-out marketing.

So how could a marketing guru stoop to an opt-out tactic? I don’t think he saw it as such. Godin truly appeared to feel that he was providing a service and helping companies, not putting them on the offensive. Multiple posts and comments, though, thought differently.

What was most impressive, though, was Godin’s comments on several of the sites I read. He didn’t accuse or get defensive. He didn’t attack the people criticizing him. He explained his viewpoint, thanked them, and moved on. Yet later, he did go ahead and adjust his strategy and take down the 200 sample pages. So instead of being opt-out, the service was opt-in instead. The way it should have been originally.

It just goes to show you that we all can make mistakes. Even those in the big leagues. It’s how you respond to (perceived) missteps that count. And Godin stepped up and amended his model when he found it wasn’t working the way he intended. Instead of digging in his heels because they had spent time and money on 200 sample pages, he pulled them off of the site. He changed. Adapted. A lot of companies could learn to do that.

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