Adventures in Mobile Marketing

MLMs and Social Marketing

Funny post the other day about social marketing gone wrong- the impending doom of a medium because (gasp!) marketers have taken it over. Funny man Duncan Riley: Pending Sign of the Twitter Apocalypse.. It’s Being Talked About by Internet Marketers.

To me, John Reese is giving internet marketing a bad name, that of MLMs! Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes are created by selling the ‘starter kit’ instead of a real product. They’re self-referentially successful. This article, and his example, expressly says that his formula works, but you have to “add him.” Essentially, a Ponzi scheme.

Don’t blame the medium, though, or the industry of marketing. I’ve found Twitter to be a great profesisonal tool in the tiny niche of email marketing. I get to chat with other email marketers, mostly logistics on when they’re visiting town. Plurk, FriendFeed, Plaxo and LinkedIn- Facebook & Last.FM- on and on- they all serve different purposes.

The methods suggested by John Reese are *not recommended.* They’re right up there with buying email lists, sending untargeted bulk email promotions, and other bad email marketing practices. The social marketing I hold up as a poster child: target your specific clique or social demographic and join the social network, and provide something of use. Adding 1,000 followers – unqualified, just numbers-game players- will not help your business. (Unless your business is… a MLM!)

Good example of social marketing done right: creating a giveaway, finding folks who might be interested (targeted, opt-in list), and building a list of interested folks in your giveaway/product, etc. A DJ friend of mine did this recently on her newsletter- she gave away a mixed track on iTunes, and then I forwarded that download- those that like her, and like DJ music, will use social media networks to “follow” her on Twitter and join the cliquey community. Not to just increase her numbers for no point at all.

Note: To give him credit, John Reese has posted a rebuttal to the Inquisitr & Mashable posts. In reading it, though, I don’t see much defeating my claims that he’s advising creating a Twitter account to buffet his own account, which I see as the definition of MLM. Still, for a well-rounded read, check it out. Wake Up Call Web 2.0 Wouldn’t Exist Without Internet Marketers

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Written on Monday, 23. June 2008 at 11:27 In the category ethics, other_blogs, social networks. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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  1. I think that most businesses are looking for immediate reach and immediate impact from a direct marketing campaign. I think businesses probably look to buy emal lists and sending out untargeted builk email because doing what you suggest takes a lot of time. Creating an enticing giveaway and finding folks who might be interested and building your own list would probably create the highest quality list, but, in your experience, how long do you think that would take to build up a quality list?

    Comment: Peter – 05. July 2008 @ 8:26 pm

  2. I think there’s a halfway point- you can partner with a business that will have a similar (but complementary) value proposition, and therefore get a targeted list, without blasting out to uninterested folks. I have yet to see a purchased list that will make you money- basically the cost of buying a good targeted list rarely works with ROI. The qualification of the list- those that let their emails be purchased- is also iffy. Partnering, acquisition channels, and slow growth make sense on qualifying the lead, better ROI, and ethical practices.

    Comment: banane – 09. July 2008 @ 10:42 am

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