Author: Bill Ives Posted: December 27, 2011 699 views

I recently commented on some less intelligence social media marketing techniques by brands, picking up on a great post by Sameer Patel, Marketing your Marketing. Basically he was arguing against the rising practice of enticing your visitors to ‘Like’ your Facebook business page by throwing them a discount coupon and commented, “what were they thinking?”

Now Jeremiah Owyang comments on The Peculiar Marketing Trends Among The Social Software Industry. I can summarize my reaction by quoting Sameer, “what were they thinking?” as I see a similar logic in operation. Three are very old school and one is new school. First, some firms are putting up airport billboards. Yet he notes that some brands might question it that is the best way to invest in marketing.

Then others are hiring attractive women to staff their conference booths to supposedly lure in prospects. Jeremiah notes that while they might get some eager males for the wrong reason, many serious buyers might not want to get anywhere close to the booth to avoid having their picture in the conference tweet stream. The iPad prizes mentioned by Sameer are more subtle. Others, especially female prospects might simply be offended. A combination of iPad prizes and models appears to doubledown on your mistake. Other software firms are adopting virtual mascots for Web promotion and physical ones for event promotion.

Then there is the rise of might be argued as virtual versions of these gimmicky efforts. Jeremiah notes that in order to appeal to our shrinking attention spans, infographics are the new white paper.p I would suggest that these are generally designed with a focus on SEO and link bait, as much as with serious content.p Jeremiah notes the link bait aspects.  

In marketing there has always been an attempt to lure people in ways that do not add any value to the serious nature of the conversation about the product. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as long as it is done with good taste. Now we have SEO as a byproduct of search engine algorithms.p We are appealing to these tools with material that is alluring in the same way that mascots and models attempt to attract people. It can be argued that the physical versions of link bait do not necessarily get the right people to engage. I wonder if that will be the same result for the virtual marketing techniques?p

I know there is not a clear yes/no answer to this question. However, I do think it is question that needs to be asked. What has been your experience?


About the author >

Bill Ives

Bill has served for thirty years in leadership positions helping firms improve employee performance and make effective business use of emerging technologies. He worked in such areas as learning, competency assessment, knowledge management, and more recently, social media, around such topics as sales, customer service, and technology adoption. Bill has supported US Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries, along with a number of leading European firms. Currently, Bill is the SVP of Marketing at Darwin Ecosystem where he helped the firm win a number of industry awards and gain significant market recognition in its first year. He manages the Darwin blog and Twitter efforts among other tasks. He wears several other hats including writing for two other blogs: The OutStart Knowledge Solutions Blog and the AppGap. He also provides consulting to clients on effective uses of social media. Bill is a frequent speaker and author on Web topics, especially business uses of social media, both inside and outside the enterprise. Prior to his current roles, Bill was in a leadership role in knowledge management at Accenture (1996-2004) and led the Knowledge Management/Portals Client Practice (2001-2004). He was responsible for numerous knowledge management and portal strategy and implementation engagements. A number of these won industry awards for innovation and effective knowledge sharing. He also led several large learning efforts and served as executive sponsor for the firm’s Plumtree, Epicentric, and Lotus alliances. At Renaissance Strategy Group (1993-1996) Bill developed knowledge management, performance support systems, and multi-media learning systems. At both Accenture and Renaissance, he developed and documented the firm’s first knowledge management methodology. At Spectrum Interactive (1981-1993) Bill developed performance support systems, multimedia learning systems, and instructor-led training, as well as competency assessments, organizational designs, and evaluation methods for many Fortune 100 companies. From 1976 to 1981 Bill conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard University on the effects of media on cognition. He received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto, an Ed. M. in Human Development from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Tufts University. Bill has published over 100 articles on business uses of the web, knowledge management, learning, and psychology and he has presented at over 100 sessions at professional conferences including, American Psychological Association, American Society for Training and Development, Braintrust, Enterprise 2.0, KM World, Enterprise Search Summit, and Webcom. Bill writes the blog, Portals and KM, since May 2004. There are over 2,500 subscribers. It is syndicated through several services including Lexis Nexis Kindle, Blogburst, and others. You can reach him at

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