Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't start marketing a product unless you want to help build a community

In working over a new product, it occurred to me that there is a very tight relationship between the company, its product/service, and the community it serves.

Just in that statement, you can see tons of information alone.

Communities have needs and wants. Like corporations, they have a growth or decline. They have participants. Those participants (mostly) share common needs and wants. Doesn't mean they can't or don't also belong to other communities because of their other needs and wants.

So my story is this: I was scammed almost exactly a year ago and haven't made back the money they promised I was supposed to have in 3-4 months. The companies in this scam are Internet Income Solutions, Bright Builders, and Thrive Learning - all Utah-based companies.

While I'm pursuing a refund through Rip-Off Reports, as well as other complaint routes (FTC, FCC, FBI, state attorney generals, BBB), I'm also writing a book about these adventures and using the research I've done into this area over that past year. And I plan to promote that book down social media lines.

But then I plan to move onto other venues. I've got a lot of stuff that I need to get done, and other than this handbook, I don't intend to become a consumer advocate by any means. So my investment in the community of "stop telemarketers' internet scams" will draw to a close. (But my involvement in book writers/editors/publishers community won't.)

And so, while I can go full bore in promoting this book with social bookmarks, podcasts, videos, forum posts - why would I want to? I've got a whole series of books which are demanding my attention, forcing me to get this one up and off my lines, so to speak.

And that's the question I think that everyone should ask themselves about their products that they pitch or services they offer. Why am I promoting this product/service?

Is it for the community?

Is it just to "make a buck"?

Is it for personal fame?

If you look up or follow Dr. Mani or Chris Brogan and you'll see people who are completely working to build communities and to help others openhandedly.

Do Comcast or Dell or Home Depot really work to build the community - or are their social actions and participation simply CRM with a twist?

Now, if you follow Scott Monty, you'll see that you are dealing with a person who is trying to help a somewhat enlightened brick-and-mortar car company transition into our modern Internet age. And he's got his job cut out for him (but Ford didn't need to take bail-out money, did they?) If you check out his blog, you'll see he is tackling some tough issues that are actually contributing to the social media community as a whole.

As a book writer/editor/publisher - I have to ask myself about the products I'm bringing out: do they actually contribute something to improving this culture, our global communities?

But - what do you think?

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