by Guest Blogger, Lena West
Since this is a blog about marketing, it is highly appropriate that I talk about how various forms of technology are used to market to people - and the annoying factor of marketus interruptus...or interruption marketing.
Interruption marketing is annoying. I can't think of a soul who likes it. It's the annoying floating advertisements with hidden 'CLOSE' buttons. It's pop-up advertising. It's little post-it note squeeze boxes to get your email address. It's the new blare boxes that are at the airport in Boston (and other places). And, now marketus interruptus has hit SecondLife thanks to big corporations that come in with their bloated egos and wallets. Is nothing sacred?
(Sidebar: I should also mention that interruption marketing only works on those new to business. Experienced, savvy people are annoyed and turned off considerably by it.)
But, onto the point of this post...
I recently read a post on another blog (no link love on purpose) about SecondLife citizens are complaining about - and actually forming citizen armies against - major corporations that push a hard-sell marketing angle in SecondLife. The SecondLife citizens tell these corporations where they can stick their marketing and because of this corporations and some deluded social media 'experts' say that SecondLife "doesn't work" and isn't a good marketing solution for companies! Say what?!?!
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Georg Kolb, the EVP of Innovation at Text 100 International. You know...the global PR firm that won a PRWEEK award for their foray in SecondLife? And he said it perfectly, "It’s not enough to be the first. It's less about 'bragging rights' and more about contributing to the good of the community."
Here's my comment on that blog post (which mysteriously was not approved..I wonder why?):
We advise B2B companies on how to make effective, profitable use of social media - including "new publics" or "alternate universes" - so I know of what I speak. We always tell them: SecondLife - just like anything - is what you make of it.
There are B2B companies that have had great results in SL. Text 100 for example. They started in SL last year and developed their own island and welcome office. They have since built an amphitheater for virtual meetings, etc.
Of course, SL users are disappointed (and upset) with the marketing that goes on in SL! That's because clueless corporations come in and try to shove marketing messages down SL'ers throats. Hint: it doesn't work in real life and it's not going to work in Second Life. If corporations really want to make a difference in SL, they need to do two things:
1) Have the guts to use this "new public" to do something different. Don't just repeat what you're doing in the real world....that's such a wasted opportunity. (Georg Kolb said this.)
2) Don't think you're going to go in SL, buy real estate, build and island and everyone is going to come running. You have to genuinely want to connect and GIVE to the community you're joining. SL'ers are savvy and they can smell 'shove-marketing' from a mile away.
...Leave it to a bunch of corporations to try to bombard the SL scene with commercials and then when people rebuff them, they say "Second Life doesn't work." No, it's more like they no longer have free reign to be marketing bullies.
So, dear reader, if you're thinking about poking around with your business in SecondLife, ignore the naysayers and forge ahead but, don't engage in marketus interruptus, OK? (BTW, this type of thing should be done on your business development days - lest I contribute to the already growing hoard of procrastinators...myself included) :)