Today I got a phone call which I knew was about selling magazines. For some unknown reason I thought I would listen to what the caller has to say (Usually I simply say “not interested, thanks” and hangup). First the caller asked me some questions where I needed to rate magazines either good or bad. I said this and thought what would come next (perhaps I wanted to see what sort of trick there was coming).
After that, the caller thanked me and said that he would like to give me 8 months free for any magazine of my choice. I said one of the magazines (Roope Ankka of course) and then the caller said that it would cost me only 4 months. I said that paying 38 euros (or whatever it was) was pretty expensive price to pay for a free magazine.
At that point I thought that “I’ve taken time to listen to you, replied to your questions, and you want to reward me by trying to sell something for me”? Of course I knew that this would happen, but still I think that this type of “marketing” (if you can call that marketing) gives bad image for all sorts of advertising. I personally don’t mind ads. In fact, I’d hope that those who deliver ads would know 110% of what I want and when I want it. It would be really cool if the ads I see would be totally tailored for me.
But… instead I get “free” offers (that end up costing bloody lot, and just waste everybody’s time). If you offer something free, then make it free. If you are giving a “free bonus”, then make sure that this bonus is indeed a free (and that normally nobody would get the bonus).
There’s a difference between “free” and free. Whenever companies try to insult us by trying to con us into buying, they are perhaps making more sales – but they are also giving a bad reputation for the whole industry.
It’s okay to offer me stuff to buy when I’m interested about it.
But it’s not okay to offer me to buy “free stuff”.