March 20, 2008

Telling Your Friends What You Do Isn't Marketing

A few days ago, Tom Reynolds posted an entry on his blog highlighting how poorly some marketers try to reach out to bloggers. In it he holds up an earlier post of his about a film from one of his friends as a prime example of how people should market to bloggers.

I can't see how you can call that marketing, apart from in a very small limited sense. My friends all know that I've written a to-do list web app, and I'm sure they've mentioned it to other people, but that isn't going to take me very far in my quest to reach everyone that might be helped by my software.

It's difficult to know how to present my arguments, without coming across like a disgruntled outsider, but I'm interested in finding out what I'm doing "wrong" and hopefully also improving how marketers interact with bloggers.

In the comments on that post, Tom says:

"Actually posting about Gia's film is perfect, because you have to ask yourself *why* I'm her friend, and it's because of the things that she writes on her blog, and does in life that have endeared me to her.

That's why - it might not scale, but then there are people out there who trust *me* and will be influenced by my recomendations."

and Gia (whose film Tom was talking about) adds:

"I'd say if you are working in online marketing and want to 'use' bloggers to spread your word, then invest your time and yourself in blogging."

The only problem with that is that, as Tom says, it doesn't scale. People who are marketing are looking for things that scale. If Tom is right, then either we end up with lots of marketing people trying to become our friends, or people like Tom who are touting the "How to market to bloggers" talks are selling snake oil. The former sounds like a terrible pollution of the blogging "community", and if it's the latter, can someone please let me in on the secret so I can go back to looking for other ways for people to discover my software.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the mass-emailed I'm-throwing-this-at-as-many-bloggers-as-I-can-find-in-case-one-likes-it is the right way to market to bloggers either. I think the real answer lies somewhere in the middle, which is what I'm trying to do right now. But a lot of it is just leaving the odd comment (where I've got something relevant to add) or sending an out-of-the-blue email to someone whose blog I've found (and spent some time reading, and checked to see if there are any indicators that they won't be interested) that might be interested.

I just think this "immerse yourself in blogging" as a marketing strategy is bollocks. I love blogging, and my blog has helped me make all sorts of connections and helped with all sorts of things in life and in my business. But it hasn't helped me market tedium. Maybe I've been too much on the fringe of the "UK blogging 'gang'" that Gia mentions? Or maybe I'm not good enough at self-promotion? Maybe people don't realise that I've got something to promote, and so don't help out?

So, in case anyone hasn't realised...

I've written a web app that helps you stay organized and even tells you how well you're doing, called tedium.
I'd love it if you could tell anyone who you think might find it useful.
I'm still getting to grips with marketing, so if you've got any pointers I'd love to hear more.
And finally, if you've got any thoughts or opinions on what I've been ranting about above, leave a comment or write about it on your blog.


Posted by Adrian at March 20, 2008 09:40 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

You can receive updates whenever a new post is written by subscribing to the recent posts RSS feed or


Have you considered a viral campaign via social networking sites such as YouTube in order to raise awareness of Tedium?

Posted by: Ian at March 26, 2008 09:54 AM

Maybe you should start by reading the Cluetrain. Then read Hughtrain. Then read everything Seth Godin has said... Then you might see that 'telling your friends what you are doing *is* marketing' ;)

Posted by: gia at April 4, 2008 10:27 AM

Ian, Gia, thanks for your comments.

Gia, you're right - I should finish reading the Cluetrain. I started reading it a couple of years ago, but didn't read all of it. I have been following Hugh since before he had a blog, I must admit I only dip in and out of Seth's writing.

Maybe I've bought into it too much, and am neglecting other marketing avenues to follow the brave new world of marketing-by-blogging. For that to work (when selling to the low priced items as I am) you need to reach a big audience - either with your own blog (and mine is too lacking in focus for that I think), blogging friends with a big audience (at which point we're into everyone chasing Tom to be his friend), or something viral (for want of a better word).

Creating something viral (and by that I mean something that people will tell other people about) is the main one of those that I can see scaling, but it isn't what I've naturally created.

At which point, I don't think it's just telling my friends what I'm doing - it's a diversion from what I'm doing to create something that people might pass on. And Ian, I'm not sure that your standard funny, time-wasting video on YouTube is the right approach for selling some software to make you more productive ;-)

Maybe the problem is that I'm selling what Seth calls a 'meatball sundae', i.e. something that isn't sexy and exciting. And it isn't sexy and exciting to most of my friends, but it is really useful and there are people who do get excited by ways to get more done. However, I don't know many of them at present, and in order to get to know them I have to reach out to them somehow which brings us back to the problem Tom was complaining about in the first place...

Posted by: Adrian at April 13, 2008 12:41 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Note: I'm running the MT-Keystrokes plugin to filter out spam comments, which unfortunately means you have to have Javascript turned on to be able to comment.