This is a pretty darn good idea - though in reality - Reaching the right people - is not as easy to implement as Seth Godin would make it seem.
For example, this idea is not a bad one but …..
“…go buy a bunch of B52s CDs. Then list them (brand new!) for sale on Amazon and eBay. Price them ridiculously low, like a dollar. The only people who are going to buy a copy are focused fans. Then, when you ship out the CD, include your new CD in the box as well. You’ve reached exactly the right people (purchasers! who spent money! who are fans!) at exactly the right moment. Why not include two or three in the box? Fans know fans, and they like spreading the good stuff around.”
but ..but .. hasn’t Seth glossed over something important here? … buying a bunch of B52 CD’s costs money in the first place – right? Say you buy 1000 B52 CD’s, that’ll cost at $13.99 each (or get a deal for 10 bucks each, I don’t know – your buying a 1000, so it’s cheaper).
So your in the hole for 10K to reach who, for what?
According to Seth, you’d then give away the CD’s for a $1.00 on EBAY and reached a targeted group of people interested in your Band.
Sounds like a good idea, except your 9,000 dollars in the hole – and you’d only do that if you were darn sure the value of acquiring the names of 1000 new people who’ll buy something is worth way more than the 9K you just shelled out and gave away.
Let’s face it – who is going to implement that kind of strategy – only someone who can afford to give away 9,000 – and who would that be? A big marketer or publisher – someone that’s got money to burn – like mainstream publishers.
“…MJ points out that the few mainstream publishers that promote their books spend $10,000 or more on ads that don’t work. Putting a book into the hands of 1,000 perfect fans may be a far smarter investment.”
Still, I like the idea - but it’s just like that with a lot of Seth Godin’s stuff – he makes it sounds good and easy (Good & Plenty?) – but when you think it through and attempt to do – it’s got problems – it sounds great – but he leaves up enough details that he makes it sound like anyone can do it – when really, it’s often not the case.
On the other hand, his idea about Influentials is doable – but by Amazon – not you and me.
“…What a shame that Amazon hasn’t figured out how to provide this as a useful service. Amazon knows who buys a lot, they know who reviews a lot… why not ask those people if they want a free prize now and then? An influential person would earn the right to a huge number of free samples. Radio DJs used to get them… but now, of course, it’s us that are the DJs…”
And you know what – I bet Amazon is playing around with a system like this.
I think my point is – a lot of marketing ideas I read about sound great (like why aren’t we doing this or that today?) but usually, there’s a reason why we haven’t – and it be nice, if the ideas we got had something we could actually do today.
Again, a big publisher can afford to burn though money more than you or I – and of course, you can take the idea Seth Godin mentioned and apply in a way that doesn’t require much outlay (like buy something much cheaper and offer it – but that’s going to take a lot of research work – which again, he doesn’t mention).
In a lot of cases, to make something a success, you need some kind of insider knowledge or leverage – with an understanding of a specific market, a specific situation (ie: say a job search engine – they could do this) you could – in theory, do something just like what Seth Godin suggested – had you other markets or parnters you wanted to promote. But – the average Joe – it’ll take a lot of work to figure out how do what Seth Godin talks about.
But then, he’s not writing for the Average Joe or Jane - don’t you think? Most of the people who benefit from marketing advice in Seth Godin’s books, already have some insider knowledge – and he’s just giving them another perspective on how to use it.
Just a thought, on Labor Day.