The Social Side of Advertising


Most of the time when you’re sending bulk email you’re sending to a fairly anonymous list of email addresses. If you’re a good email marketer you’ve got a fairly good idea of their demographics, where the email addresses came from and maybe that they’ve purchased things from you in the past. But they’re still strangers – a “pre-existing business relationship” is not a relationship.
What would you do differently if all those recipients were people you knew? Friends, colleagues, family – people with faces and names and stories and real relationships with you, rather than a database query or a spreadsheet full of addresses? Would you send the same emails if you expected to be meeting some of the recipients for a drink after work the next day, or handing out candy with them this evening?
And on the flip-side of that… if a company wanted you to send a typical junk message to everyone you know – coming from “you” directly to the inboxes of all your friends, associates, colleagues and family – would you do it? If you would, how much cold, hard cash would you want to be paid for each message sent?
I really want to know what you think. Leave me a comment.

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  • It would take a whole heck of a lot of cash for me to participate in that kind of product placement or astroturfing. The amount would probably be more than the company has. It would have to be enough that I could retire to a new life somewhere else, as doing that kind of sell would destroy my existing social and professional connections, as well as my reputation.
    So there’s really no way, in actual practice, I could misuse personal relationships and pollute shared topical channels with paid advertisorial junk.

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