Sexy Titles are Like Stripteases – There Has to Be Some Kind of Payoff Eventually

Am I the only one that thinks corporate companies just don’t get the whole Web 2.0 thing, particuarly as it mixes with marketing? Even some Web 2.0 companies seem to make classic mistakes when creating content. It’s like they’re using traditional marketing with Web 2.0 technology and that just seems dumb to me.

In traditional marketing, such as you would see on TV for a used car sale, things like repetition, fine print, misleading advertising, etc works to get asses in seats, because everyone needs a car, and this is one of the last areas where price can be set on a case by case basis according to demand. The bait and switch works there.

But in new media, where the customers can be vocal and control an equal part of the public discussion, if you put on a sale that doesn’t live up to its promise, except that sale to only last a day. If you create a buzz that doesn’t deliver, even with content, eventually someone is going to talk about it. In the old marketing world, that was good, there was no such thing as bad publicity because it was all a numbers game. In traditional marketing, it’s all about quantity, a certain amount of butts in seats means a certain amount of revenue.

Marketing in the Web 2.0 world is different. Negative public reaction to your quality may not reduce the reach of your product, but it will reduce its usage. If you rely on repeat usage or sales to clients over a lifetime of use, that’s bad news. Its worse if it’s a one-off sale because people do research before they buy.

And if your currency IS your content, well, yikes.

Here’s a real world example.

I talked a little earlier about the Technorati Buzz TV discussion that was going on at Photomatt. The initial discussion was about a needlessly provacative title referencing Jesus.

That turned out to be about the actor who played Jesus in Passion of the Christ.

That turned out to be completely unrelated to the post.

Were a lot of people pissed off or reacting to it in this instance? No, but that’s because previous negative observations about Technorati has led to a decline in its use as a tool. Instead of going directly to a product online, people hear about it, then check around about it, then make a decision on whether or not to buy (or buy into it, as in this case.)

I.E., few people are complaining about Technorati’s Buzz TV and its recent use of a questionable headline because there’s a larger problem with the view of Technorati that’s stemmed largely from the same thing. And what little talk there is about Buzz TV is negative, which is in turn causing fewer people to be interested in it, etc.

That’s an isolated case, and I honestly can’t say I’ve been around Technorati enough lately to know whether that pattern is going to be permanent, but that’s a good example of what I’m talking about, both in the one instance o, and in the cumaltive effect of several instances.

We have all these new ways of actually reaching people, using social media as networking tools to meet one another. But in so doing, we seem to think we should put this irresistable bait on the hook – which isn’t necessarily the wrong thing to do.

The problem is, there has to be follow-up. How bored would we have been with Madonna’s decade long tease if she hadn’t eventually taken her clothes off? If you smelled this great Italian dinner aroma outside an Italian restarant, only to be served spaghettios, how happy would you be?

As the little guy, you and I can one-up the bigger shops with wits. If you’re going to sell the sizzle, remember there still has to be steak.


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