Those of us who write about marketing and the music industry often preach the importance of reaching out to fans, connecting with them and encouraging them to spread the word. It's an essential concept of modern marketing, and if what we're spreading is quality and the campaign is executed properly, it can have spectacular results.
But increasingly campaigns mistakenly take the "more must is better" approach. They begin by blasting the widest imaginable audience rather than targeting the most receptive one. Next come too many superlatives ("the hottest", "the world's best"). Then, because deep down they probably know that what they're schilling isn't any good, they demand action from anyone who might be listening. ("Tell all your friends today!"). And just in case you're still not motivated, they'll add a prize or incentive.
The campaign that motivated this diatribe arrived in my inbox from a marketing firm hired by MTV Networks. The email offered me the chance to compete to be a member of MTVN's Elite Influencer Network because I must "live to be in the know about the hottest new comedians, music, fashion, reality TV, pop culture, movies and people".
Of course, the person that sent this tripe had never bothered to even glance at Hypebot. Some badly instructed intern had run some stats and decided that I was a top music blogger. Never mind that I'm not Perez Hilton and that I write about marketing, tech and music business news and not about fashion, reality TV, pop culture or even the music itself. I could be an Elite Influencer. Here's the pitch:
http://www.brickfish.com/MTVN, the “Elite Influencer Network” program aims to create a network of some of the most influential people on the Web. From Comedy Central to VH1, Spike TV to MTV, the MTV Networks encompass entertainment for all appetites, which is why they are looking for an array of individuals to produce the ultimate “Elite Influencer Network.”
MTV’s Elite Influencer Network: 150 winners, chosen by MTV Networks from the top 500 highest scoring submissions, will become a part of MTV's Elite Influencers Network and may be called upon to work with MTV Networks on future engagements.
If you are interested in participating or sharing this information with your readers and would like more information or some images from the program, feel free to contact me. (Name withheld because I'm not mean like Bob Lefsetz.)
Avoiding this kind of mistake is simple 1) only sell things that matter 2) find and target an audience that cares 3) state the facts or give them a taste of what you're selling 4) make it easy for them to spread the word, but don't demand or beg for them to do it.
Test. Repeat. Get out of the way.