riffs & rants blog

Carpetbomb Marketing

Carpetbombing, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: 1)to drop large numbers of bombs so as to cause uniform devastation over a given area. 2) to bombard repeatedly, widely, or excessively.

Although I’ve fortunately never been a victim of carpetbombing in the combat sense, I find myself carpetbombed on a daily basis on the internet, particularly in Facebook. And I am sick of it.

Lets make a few assumptions about Facebook. For starters, it would be nice to assume that the people who you are friends with on Facebook know you. Maybe they don’t know you really well, but at least they’ve got the basics nailed. On my friends’ list, even if I have never met a particular person in person, it’s a safe bet I know where they live, whether they are married/single, gay/straight, etc. I call that part of the effort required as one human getting to know another human.

So why is it that people who know you on Facebook, know your likes, where you live, etc. insist upon and persist in sending you invites to every single event that happens on the planet even if their event is something would would never be remotely interested in?

I love my friends back in New York, really I do. But I don’t love being invited to every concert and Tupperware party, because, well, I am “geographically challenged” (aka, I live in Sacramento these days).

But I know that, for the most part, those are honest mistakes made by regular people just spreading the word about their interests. I get REALLY pissed when I see so-called, self-professed marketing “experts” engaging in this mindless, thoughtless carpetbombing, using Facebook invites.

Case in point:

I was recently “invited” (and by invited, I mean, I happen to be one of this person’s thousands of Facebook friends) to the “Sacramento Baby and Toddler Expo”.

[Pause for Reaction]

Yes, I was invited to a “Baby & Toddler Expo”. Those who don’t know me may shrug their shoulders and say, “So what?” Those who know me are still laughing, while simultaneously cleaning coffee spray off of their computer screens (and will tease me about this into the next millennium). Anyone who has taken a brief second to know me, knows that kids fall squarely into my “not my thing” category.

marketing fail

If this person had taken a few minutes to actually put some thought into the guest list for this expo, they would have looked at my name, along with other people’s names, and said, “not our target audience”.

Instead I got carpetbombed again.

I won’t even mention (ok, ok, I will) that the “person” who posted this event on Facebook is actually a business using a personal Facebook profile, which is an obvious violation of Facebook’s terms of service.

So really a good question to ask, is, when promoting your events and businesses on Facebook: Are you being thoughtful? Is it a good idea to invite your Christian friends to the atheist rally at the Capitol? Is it wise to invite atheists to a Christian business networking group? Probably not.

Take the time. Be thoughtful in your marketing. Stop carpetbombing.

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3 Responses to Carpetbomb Marketing

  1. I hear ya’. Recently, I was invited to an event by a facebook friend who I don’t actually know, who invited me to a sales pitch for a MLM (multi level marketing) Company.

    I responded to the event as in DECLINE, and in the decline message said “please don’t use facebook to spam me”

    I then got a message from the person, saying just decline, don’t be rude, I wasn’t spamming you.

    I said “with all due respect (which always means, “listen up moron”) when you invite me to an event that does not fit in with my interests in anyway, that you could personally profit from, without even saying hello first, it’s spam.”

    He responded “well you’re a bad and negative person, Warrhh boo hoo boo waarrhhh” (I added the crying like a baby stuff in for effect, but you get the picture).

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, insisting on manners on the internet does not make me a bad person. It makes me a person who highlights the ill mannered.

    Now, where did I put that invite to the baby and toddler event so I can hand out prophylactics.

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