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Avoiding The "More Must Be Better" Marketing Trap

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:

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Do you live to be in the know about the hottest new comedians, music, fashion, reality TV, pop culture, movies and people? Share your passion with MTV Networks and you could join their “Elite Influencer Network.”   Located at 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.”

Submit a photo with description, video or blog that best features your obsession with MTV Networks culture and why you should be one of their elite members. Once you have created your entry, make sure to share it with your friends.  The more viral you are, the more influence you have, the better your chance to become an Elite Influencer. Take your entries out into your social communities and show MTVN how you represent!

Rewards:

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.

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