Today’s marketing post from Seth Godin discusses about the role of the Internet as both a leveler and an amplifier. He calls it “The soapbox and the city.” He makes the point that everyone deserves a soapbox to share their ideas, but that no one automatically deserves an audience — they have to earn it.
This seems especially relevant given my colleagues‘ recent discussions about the role of the Internet as a tool for collaboration and for sharing.
When I volunteered in my middle school‘s library in 1995, they had a dial-up subscription to Digital Ink, a non-web online service now regarded as the Washington Post‘s first failed attempt at monetizing digital content. Stories often had hyperlinks to the greater Web, but the librarians warned me, “Don’t click on the links to the web! That costs us money!”
Today, it’s getting hard to remember when starting a new marketing platform online wasn’t as simple as spending $20 on a domain name and hosting, and throwing up a WordPress site over the weekend.
Seth Godin’s argument is timeless — anyone can step on the soapbox, but you have to earn your audience.
And, I’d add — not just earn it, but keep earning it.
Just because I sign up for an email newsletter doesn’t mean I want to keep getting it if it becomes irrelevant. If someone’s Tweets veer from what I want or need to hear, I’ll unfollow. And if marketing messages aren’t on target, I’ll stop listening.
Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross said “Always Be Closing.” In marketing, it’s more like “Always Be Earning” — your audience, that is.
It’s a continuous process. Earned audiences are ephemeral. Smart marketing makes it last longer, but you can never stop.
As a marketer helping clients and my agency, it’s exhausting — and exhilarating.
Question: What’s an example of a time you lost trust in a company you followed? You can leave a comment by clicking here.