Monday, August 13, 2007

QUESTION: Drawing the line between effective promotion and spam

This is a question I've asked my LinkedIn network, and I also ask here:

How do you draw the line between effective promotion and spam?

When marketing a brand or doing some other type of publicity for someone or something, there are effective ways to promote, and there are not so effective ways. How do identify, especially in the digital age in which we live, where the line between effective promotion (self- or otherwise) is and where you've crossed it?
Comments are open and genuinely appreciated!

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nFriedly said...

This is kind of an 'eye of the beholder' thing.

I'd say bulk anything (snail mail, email, etc) is definitely out of the question.

Writing specific pointed letters to people and companies you'd like to work for should be OK with most of them.. and you probably don't want to work for the others anyways.

But the best way to get a job is always to know somebody. I have a headhunter that I've worked with before and sent a couple of other people her way; you might want to give her a call. I'll send you her information on gtalk.

Sunflower said...

I think you have crossed it when you step into someone's personal space. I think we see email as something very personal; when I get spammed, I feel that this person has no business sending me such stuff. It's almost as if he's invaded my space. His trash is taking up valuable space in my inbox.

It's funny that the same kind of promotional material, dumped as a printed brochure in a mailbox, doesn't feel like a violation at all. The mailbox is sitting there along the road, anybody can walk by and dump something inside, but email is MINE, it's private, it's personal. I don't give it to just anybody, y'know?

Blogs are also personal. It's where I write about the things I want to write about. So if somebody comes along and leaves a comment that has no other purpose than to pimp his product/ website/ service, it feels like a violation. Again, there's the whole sense of "this shouldn't be here".

The same with cellphone numbers. Your phone number is personal; you don't simply give it to anybody. (Land lines of course are grouped in a directory, but there is no such thing as a directory of cellphone users.) Increasingly, I've been getting promotional text messages about entering contests and such. It's spam because it's invasive.

Charlie said...

UCE (unsolicited commercial email) is any email that promotes a product or service that wasn't asked for by the recipient. Having said that, there are a large number of lists and RSS feeds that contain some spam mixed in with some valuable content (e.g. This isn't at all offensive to me, because I signed up for it. I also don't mind spammy sigs on list postings, and of course you can spam all you want on your own blog.