If you don’t know of David Meerman Scott, you should change that. He wrote “the New Rules of Marketing and PR” which is a great read, full of challenging thinking. As a pre-cursor to his new book “World Wide Rave” he’s just published a free and easily digestible ebook called “Lose Control of your Marketing! Why marketing ROI measures lead to failure”
You should read the ebook – it’s got some really great ideas. However reading it made me cross. His suggestion is simple:
Make your information on the Web totally free for people to access, with absolutely no virtual strings attached: no electronic gates, no registration requirements, and no email address checking necessary.
Meerman Scotts assertion is that marketing’s role is to spread ideas, and that putting ANY barrier in the way of that simply reduces the number of people that experience your content. Amongst other things he asserts that you should not put web contact forms (name, email capture) onto websites.
While applying these forms of measurement might be appropriate offline, using them to track your success on the Web just isn’t relevant; they don’t capture the way ideas travel. Worse,the very act of tracking leads hampers the spread of ideas. People know from experience that if they supply their personal information to an organization, they’re likely to receive unwanted phone calls from salespeople or to find themselves on email marketing lists. Most won’t bother. In fact, I have evidence from several companies that have offered information both with and without a registration requirement that when you eliminate the requirement of supplying personal information, the number of downloads or views goes up by as much as a factor of fifty.
I hope he’s wrong. Many of us have been schooled in the principles of “if you can’t measure it, don’t do it”. We are increasing our efforts to capture names of people who engage with our content so that we can continue to engage with them. This approach flies in the face of that: if we give away something of genuine value with no barriers, people will share it with each other and ultimately connect with us.
What really makes me angry is that I think he may be right.
What’s your thoughts?