This is a picture of the guest room closet in my house. It backs up to my son’s bathroom which turns out to be the best way to find a leak in the shower plumbing. Nothing to do with weather…stay with me.
I’m capable of, though not proficient at, repairing a hole in drywall and I don’t have any friends or relatives who have said drywall skills…so, off to the web. Google search…google maps search, YellowPages.com search…yadda, yadda, yadda. After about a half hour I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. Then I found RedBeacon.com, run by Home Depot. You put in your issue and through the magic of the Interwebs, contractors come to you. Two hours later I had a couple of bids and the next day the job was done.
I’m reading a book called The Intention Economy, by Doc Searls. Searls is building the open source software that allows developers to create applications that enable end users to put out requests for products or services. Vendors can then bid on the job. It is pretty amazing stuff. The drywall guy I chose has a small local business. He can’t afford to advertise on the local news everyday in hopes that I will be watching the minute I get a leak in the shower.
Think about this for minute. How many vendors, services and stores do you deal with in a week? Everything…the gas station, the grocery store, the dry cleaner. What if I could fix it so that you got an ad from every one of those people…every day…or even every hour. That would be great (for the advertisers). How long could you stand it? (Before anyone says advertising is brand building…I get it.)
Kim Wilson from Social News Desk has an interesting post regarding best practices for Facebook. One of the most intriguing sentences is:
Newsrooms are posting great content that’s inherently newsworthy and engaging to Fans, whereas the rest of the “Brand Page community” is largely posting commercial advertisements/marketing messages and spam.
Yeah…we don’t put out spam, we are creating “content”! All that other stuff isn’t nearly as important.
So what is the point? There is a fundamental difference between you pushing a message at a user, and the user requesting information. Can the drywall guy send me a message every day? Sure, but he would quickly end up in the spam folder…or worse, EdgeRank wouldn’t show in my newsfeed. (Gasp!)
When you are there for your client at their point of need you win, and they will come back to you when the faucet leaks again…or when they are wondering if the approaching clouds will bring rain.