Daily Archives: January 30, 2009

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Interruption Marketing

Category : Business , Thoughts

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about business. I have started businesses in the past. I have closed businesses in the past. I know how to do those two things. But I also know that interrupting your viewers before they even have a chance to see your business is really, really bad business. I know this because this is exactly what Fast Company's web site does.

Interruption marketing is nothing new on the web. If you go to CNet's websites like GameSpot, are not logged in, and try to click on content, there is a chance that you will see an ad on the way to the content you really want to see. I do not have a really big problem with this, even though it interrupts the usability of their site. I know that they need the revenue from the ads and interruption marketing is well-entrenched.

Fast Company, on the other hand, interrupted me before their main page...and the ad did not load correctly. It was akin to walking up to a shop that looked somewhat interesting and being told by the doorman that there was a really cool thing to see down the block. He was not exactly sure what it was, but that it was better than what I had been looking for at the shop. Undeterred by the doorman, I entered the shop and found he was right.

The site definitely has some interesting articles, but most of them are somewhat underwhelming to be gracious. I should have taken the doorman's advice and gone somewhere else. However, just like I did not click the ad that refused to load, I would not tip the doorman in this case; providing no click-through revenue for Fast Company or whatever company's ad had failed.

Now, I don't like people stopping me on the street to sell me encyclopedias and I don't like sites interrupting me when I'm trying to find something relevant to my interests. But I'm willing to say no to the pushy encyclopedia salesman and I'm willing to click the "skip this add" link if I have to. I'm trained to jump through bad marketing hoops, and I'm good at saying no and forgetting whatever was pushed at me--the likelyhood of me actually being interested in your interruption is low and my irritation rate is high at having to be interrupted.

However, I do often click ads and such that I find interesting on social media sites like Facebook (which often have a voting mechanism to let the marketing group know if their ad was effective or not). But I have to find it interesting and find it on my own. If I'm in the middle of something, I'll bear with your ad and clicking to ignore it. But if I see an ad before I even see your front page and who you are and what you do...there's a problem with the way you do business.

If I can't connect with what you do, why would I want to go to your site at all? Maybe, if interruption advertising on this front were effective, I would never go to your site at all because I would keep clicking on your partner's. Sadly for those partners, I think that in my many, many years of being online and dealing with online marketing, I have never clicked on an ad presented in this fashion.

It just tells me that you do not care about your customers or your own brand (or else you would show your frontpage before anyone else could stop someone from getting there). Or else that your only focus is on advertising; any conent that you have that might draw customers to the site is secondary (if not further down the list).

If I'm going to your site; if I might be interested in spending money there (if you have such services) then let me get there. If one of your premium services is that I do not see ads (as many sites are wont to provide to paying customers)...how will I even know that the service exists if I'm blocked from actually going to the frontpage of your site?

Just some thoughts.