Monday, July 14, 2008

How far do you spread the message?

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time posting sample art from an upcoming comics project on my personal blog as well as in a publicly accessible Facebook photo-album, and making sure I mentioned it on Twitter.

Part way through the exercise my wife asked me "Why are you doing that. Shouldn't the publishers be doing it?" On the face of it it seemed like a fair question, but experience has quickly taught me that publishers with hundreds of books to promote can only focus on a select few, and you can't count on yours being one of them. The more marketing you do for yourself the more advance interest you can build and, hopefully, the greater the sales.

Switch to this morning at the WebWorks office, and after reviewing some figures I sent an email to one online distributor of software asking them to remove our product listing from their website.

The two events didn't seem related, but over lunch today I began to think about it.

Last night my underlying philosophy was that "the more marketing the better." The more online exposure I could get for my upcoming project the more awareness it would build for both the project and myself as a writer. So more is good? - Yes

This morning, when I looked at the product listing online at the site in question I saw that the product and company descriptions were years out of date. They obviously had no real understanding of our market, or what business issues our product helped solve, never mind its actual features and functionality. When I looked back at the records I found that they were one of a large group of on-line software distributors who had been signed up "en-mass" several years ago. The philosophy had been the same as mine the previous night "the more web presence the better." So more is good? - In this case - No.

So many distributors had been signed up that no-one was (or could practically for our size of company) manage them all and keep track of how we, and our products, were being represented. The ones that produced steady strong results got noticed and managed. The ones that only produced occasional sales didn't. The result is that those neglected listings were soon sending the wrong messages.

So what's the connection? Having a philosophy of spreading your message far and wide over the Web can be a great one. In today's Web2.0 world viral marketing is one of the strongest marketing tools available. BUT.. you can should only spread the message to places that you can manage. If the message gets inconsistent and diluted it doesn't take long to become worthless.