There’s a reason people send me products. I’m not an expert. I write about them (or the ones that capture my attention) from the point of view of “some guy with a blog who got something sent to him.” It doesn’t hurt that my blog is popular, but that alone isn’t a good reason to send someone something. It doesn’t hurt that I have a reputation as being a nice guy, so I’m not likely to bitch and complain (though I do give my negative opinions, should I have them).
The reason that people send me products is that I’m the new “everyman.” I’m the point-of-view character who just messes with your thing, or reads your book, or makes a goofy video, and shares with people what I think might be interesting to my audience. It’s that last part that matters the most, though. You knew that.
Marketing is shifting away from impersonal interactions and back towards the more effective world of word of mouth. Blended with the world of word-of-mouth, however (or maybe more accurately, I should say that word of mouth is only one tool in the bag), are sponsored conversations. Ted Murphy just recorded a video about these recently. The only difference is that in one, things happen a bit more organically. In the other, there’s a bit of a push (which usually involves money or a product or a service changing hands).
To me, they’re like a driver and a putter (not that I play golf). Getting people to pay attention in this saturated market is requiring more and more creative marketing. I, for one, see that to be content marketing. But once you get onto the green (or in the financial sense, the case to earn some green), I think word of mouth is the more finesse-level tool. Make sense?
So when I get to play with a nifty camera or drink 30 year old whisky or get a chance to do something neato like that, just realize that I’m also part of a larger story, and that’s the story of the marketing world looking for a new kind of everyman (and I mean women, as well – the mommyblogger community is definitely alive and well with this experience).
Is it effective? I say yes, but ONLY if there is trust and transparency involved in the process. If people aren’t disclosing the relationships up front, and not respecting their community, I can see this failing fast. It’s up to us, but then, isn’t that the beauty of this new world? It’s always up to us.
What say you?