I said it. It never seems to fail though. The internet comes up with some cool thing that could change the world and help us all further humanity. Then the marketers find it and ruin it. It happened with Twitter, remember?
Twitter was cool and hip and a great way to connect with new people. Until marketers realized that many virgin eyeballs could spell big bucks. Suddenly Twitter was overrun with spammers and rendered about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
Normally I’d have titled this post “Spammers Ruin Everything,” but I realized today that it’s not just the bad apples that spoil the internet. Sometimes it’s just the regular apples.
Case and point is today’s post from John Chow in which he talks about Sweeva (think Adwords meets StumbleUpon). It was while reading his post that I realized how cool an idea Sweeva could be.
It was also around this time that I realized just how little time it would take before this neat service would be filled with useless shit. (UPDATE: Too late.)
We’re talking about marketers whose hearts wallets are in the right places, just trying to make an honest buck by forcing bad ad copy down their viewers’ throats in the hopes that someone, someday will give in and say “Fuck it!
If you’ll shut up and leave me alone, I’ll buy!” I am ashamed to say of course that I haven’t always tried to be part of the solution. In fact, I’ve been one of those misguided marketers for most of my online career, though I think those are growing pains that everyone has to overcome.
But this is exactly why I wish I had a different job description. Internet marketer doesn’t look good on a business card. Especially a business card handed out at a conference full of internet marketers. It also reads as being spammy do largely to the fact that marketers ruin everything.
Is Steve Pavlina a content marketer? He’s written a mainstream personal development book and has a massive repository of high- quality self-help articles, but he still actively hocks affiliate(read: other peoples) products via his website. Is he a marketer?
Sure. In a more Third Tribe sense, he is. But what if suddenly he changed and decided to be a marketer first and a personal development author second? Would he still ruin everything? Probably not.
Because the difference between marketers that win our trust (and even our fandom) and marketers who ruin everything is how they treat and view all those virgin eyes I mentioned earlier. Do those eyes belong to customers – people – or to potential clicks?
Mark my words: If you can stop seeing people as dollar signs and traffic lines on a Google Analytics graph and start focusing on providing value first before hocking your wares, you’ll never ruin everything again and you’ll still be able to call yourself a marketer. If that term even still applies.