When it comes to digital marketing: if at first you don’t succeed… give up (at least on me)

IMAGE: Sahua — 123RF

Persistence isn’t a bad thing until it goes beyond a certain point. For example, when it is backed up by the possibilities offered by digital technology and misuse of databases.

I find myself increasingly under siege from some very persistent companies and organizations. Back in the day, a request to mention the content of a press release was limited to an email, and at worst, a telephone call. The fact that in almost 13 years of writing a blog I have never once included information from a press release has never stopped people from asking me to do so: after all, they have a data base of pages with a certain amount of traffic, so why bother wasting their precious time by actually looking at those pages to see how relevant they are, and instead take the shot-gun scatter-blast approach?

What started out as a simple message has now become a lengthy and tedious process: first the message, then another message asking if I received the previous message, followed by one asking how come I still haven’t got back to them, and then… the call. And increasingly, it’s not just press notes, but sponsored posts, including “guests” on my blog, invitations to events, and people wanting to “manage” my advertising. Again, nobody bothers to actually check my page, but why bother when they have an automated system?

I don’t publish press notes, or write for sponsored pages: I write what I write because I want to and because I think it might be of interest to the world. I don’t write for money and I never have. Neither do I “invite” guests to write on my page. I don’t write reviews of products and services unless based on my personal experience. If your budget is limited, don’t bother sending me your latest product, I can guarantee I won’t write about it unless it genuinely interests me and I have the time.

There’s no advertising on my page either. It used to, and for a while it brought in some income, and more importantly, taught me something about the subject, but I soon realized that online advertising is garbage. If a company ever says to me, “we like your page and we’re interested in reaching your readership but we understand that hassling them isn’t the best way to do that,” then I might be prepared to listen to what they have to say.

So far, I have yet to receive such an offer, and so until I hear from a company that is prepared to give some serious thought about how to reach my relatively small, but potentially interesting readership in an imaginative, non-intrusive way, my page will remain advertising free.

Ah, and I don’t tend to attend events or launches: I don’t have the time, and please, if I say I can’t go, don’t ask if somebody from my team can come along instead; I don’t have a team. I am a lowly academic publishing things that interest me and that help me prepare my classes. I don’t want to be a leader in any particular field, I’m not interested in fame or politics, and have no other ambitions than those I have already attained. It’s not that hard to understand: I prefer to earn less, but to do the things that interest me. And if that means that unimaginative advertisers are going to overlook me, then so be it.

A large chunk of the emails and calls I receive are asking me to do things that it is very obvious I am not interested in doing; what’s more they are increasingly persistent. I’m pretty sure that nobody is going to take much notice of what I am saying here, because it’s obvious by now that the digital marketeers don’t actually bother reading the pages on their databases. I might very well be becoming a grumpy old man, but here’s my advice: if at first you don’t succeed: give up.

(En español, aquí)

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