Information Waterboarding

The mere mention of the "W" word brings unpleasant memories. It is a strong word that sadly reflects the deluge of information that hits us anywhere we click. It seems that the only way to get relief is to turn it all off but we can't do that. As a marketing professional who routinely soaks up good information that is not an option. Everyone has a license to hunt and we are the prey. The challenge is the increasing amount of useless info hidden behind clever subject lines. It is like going through an antique store looking for that one great piece. If we turn everything off, we lose. RSS-feeds and only following those whom we trust is one way to avoid the mayhem but there is good content out there, if you can find it.

Here's what I think the problem is: pseudo-marketing guys (sadly, everyone is a marketer today because no one wants to sell) believe in the "if you throw enough $^%& on the wall, some of it will stick". Coupled with the fact that email or posts cost nothing, "we might as well throw a lot of $^%& out there and see what happens". I like Ikea's slogan: "It's a big country someone needs to furnish it". Similarly, it is a big country and someone will eventually click on a link that leads to useless information or offer.

Here's an example of an email that arrived today via a reputable channel: "My assistant noticed your site and we feel that we have a lot of synergy between our companies. Our CEO is the #1 blah blah and the most successful blah blah and since we are marketing to entrepreneurs, you can now reach our over 1,000,000 followers. How about we set up a time to speak?".  The email was a page-long, I am sparing you the agony. This person "had me at SYNERGY" -- that is when I started yelling at the screen. "Synergy went out of style ten years ago. At least come up with a new genuine or creative useless jargon".

Weeks earlier it was a multi-millionaire who in his lifetime build companies worth over $30 million. He can now help me do the same for just $97 a month. You see what I mean.

Someone is buying, I get it. But have a little bit of self respect and stop insulting those of us who know better: you have a better chance of being struck by lightening on the golf course then hitting your first million with this guy.

Remember junk mail? You could barely carry the mail from your mailbox with all of the catalogs and flyers. They cost a fortune to print and distribute but they worked. Marketer had a system based on the hot-list of those who actually purchased something. They were the recipient of more junk because they bought. Makes sense to me. Most of us set with a trash can next to the kitchen table and tossed most if away.  That is the equivalent of the DELETE button. But we spend at a few seconds ensuring we are not missing anything important. Yeh right.

The waterboarding of information makes it very challenging for those who work hard on delivering valuable content. Too often we are victimized by a conditioned-reflex to just delete or ignore. It's a race to get better at "subject lines" but so do junk e-mailers . Is is a fight you can't win.

The answer is information by subscription. It is not a blank check. If you subscribe to our feed, newsletter, blogs etc., it is our responsibility to police content and protect our subscribers. It is tempting to accept a banner advertising client that sells junk or engages in the tactics I mentioned above. Set ground rules, work with your advertisers and don't sell your soul. Your subscription base of clients or prospects will appreciate knowing that part of your service is to save them time and money by not being exposed to unworthy content.

Take a stand. Nothing beats good service and service is all about integrity and loyalty to your base.