Best Of ’09: advertisement (and some thoughts on being classy)

Today’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge prompt is:

Ad. What advertisement made you think this year?

This prompt got me thinking about the difference between advertising, marketing, and spam. As an independent musician, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  The internet has obviously made it very easy to communicate and self-promote…for free.  Most definitions of “advertising” include the word “paid.” But, is advertising always paid for?

In his book Permission Marketing, Seth Godin defines advertising (without using the word “paid”) as “the science of creating and placing media that interrupts the consumer and then gets him or her to take action.”

When someone leaves this in the comments section of my Myspace page…


…is it called advertising?  It costs them nothing to do this.  I mean…I know it’s spam.  But is it also a type of advertising?

By the way – this kind of spam is the most despicable of all.  Who would actually be interested in checking out this spammer’s music? The only action they’ve inspired me to take is to hit the delete button as fast as possible.  If you can commit this type of spam offense and feel no remorse, than you have a serious problem.

Although I would never do this type of thing on Myspace, I must admit that I have been guilty of mass-emailing people to promote an upcoming gig.  And I think that’s spam.  If the people you’re mass emailing didn’t sign up for it, then it’s spam.

be classy about how you advertise/market/whatever…

This year I started from scratch, vowed never to mass email anyone in my contacts ever again, and set up a proper mailing list that is opt-in only. Even though there is an option in this mailing list service to import all of my contacts from my email account, I would never do that.  To me, that’s just not classy. I’d rather send notices about upcoming gigs to 70 people who gave me their permission to do so, than to mass-email 500 and hope that I’m not pissing off too many people.

2009 was the year I began to practice squeaky clean email etiquette, which has extended to all forms of communicating about my music.

How do you define advertising, marketing, and spam?

3 Responses to Best Of ’09: advertisement (and some thoughts on being classy)

  1. Les says:

    Well said. It always amazes me how spammers seem to think their tactics are successful. Especially since we are all so much more “savvy” than say 10-15 years ago. Perhaps in the next 10-15 years SPAM will go away altogether as we finally see the second and third “tech” generations come of age.

    Best of luck with your music!

  2. Ditto. … well put!

    Myspace had (and maybe still has?) such potential but it turned into a giant flea market of folks trying to push their wares. The ad you got is, sadly, par for the course.

    In some ways, Twitter suffers some of the same issues. I’m constantly followed by “social media marketing experts” (seriously, how many “experts” can there be on any subject!) who are just hoping to push their website or products on me. They are welcomed to read my guitar geek posts but I, of course, never follow them in return.

    Perhaps more companies are desperate for revenue but I’m surprised to see a few big companies sell/rent their opt-in email lists entirely to partners or products who are hoping for a quick sell/marketing push. Seems like they’re abusing the very fans that they should be protecting and cherishing.

  3. Pingback: Event Invitation Overload! | Christine Bougie

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