Gini Dietrich

Why Brogan’s Bigger Ear Marketing Is Wrong

By: Gini Dietrich | January 12, 2011 | 
358

Chris BroganOne of the last people I want to antagonize is Chris Brogan, but I’ve been thinking about this all week so here goes nothing.

Dear Chris,

You are wrong.

Love,

Gini

On Monday, Chris had a blog post called “Bigger Ear Marketing for Authors.” In the post he extols wisdom about using Twitter and Foursquare searches to find people who are in bookstores. When found, he suggests tweeting those people to see if they can find your book in the store. And hence, a conversation is born.

Admittedly he says this approach doesn’t sell a few thousand books nor that it’s an efficient use of your time (I agree with both of those statements), but the problem I see is that 28 people in the comments section agreed with him. And, of those 28, I know some of them advise business leaders, not just published authors.

You guys. This is not a great idea, nor a great approach. We had the debate internally here. I said the same thing Scott Stratten said in the comments…that some people would think, “OMG! Chris Brogan just tweeted me!” And then they’d run to the business section, find his book, and tweet him a photo of them holding it up. Granted, that person may even buy his book.

But then our conversation turned to the financials of the time, effort, and sale of the books…which also can be related to the amount of time you spend with any sales effort.

The figure in sales is one percent for converting a cold customer. So, with this approach, you have to reach 100 people for every book (or product or service) you want to sell. Then you consider how much you make on each sale. Is it $5? Is it $10?

You track down 100 people through Foursquare and Twitter searches, you research them, and you send each of them a tweet. All to make $10.

I’m a prolific tweeter so I’d guess doing all of that would take me two hours. Maybe more. So I just made $5 an hour. And Chris has celebrity status so he probably makes $10 an hour because there will be a few people who will buy his book just because he tweeted them.

But most business leaders and even published authors are not prolific tweeters nor do they have celebrity status. Most aren’t even known in their industries yet and are busy not only trying to build a brand, but also pay the bills. Most would be lucky to net $2.50 an hour.

You tell me. Would you rather spend time “growing bigger ears” on something that will net you $10.00 or find something to do with your time that nets you $10,000?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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358 Comments on "Why Brogan’s Bigger Ear Marketing Is Wrong"

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KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago
Wise words, Gini. And an aside to the 28 comments of people in the comments who agreed with him, I applaud you on disagreeing. As one of the “little guys”…a small local marketer, I sometimes question myself when I find myself disagreeing with a Brogan, or one of the other “superstars” out there on Twitter. I second guess, because, after all, they must be geniuses, etc etc etc. And yet, these days I find myself disagreeing with them more. But I still question whether I should blog about my thoughts. Will I be laughed out of the blogosphere for something… Read more »
KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago
Wise words, Gini. And an aside to the 28 comments of people in the comments who agreed with him, I applaud you on disagreeing. As one of the “little guys”…a small local marketer, I sometimes question myself when I find myself disagreeing with a Brogan, or one of the other “superstars” out there on Twitter. I second guess, because, after all, they must be geniuses, etc etc etc. And yet, these days I find myself disagreeing with them more. But I still question whether I should blog about my thoughts. Will I be laughed out of the blogosphere for something… Read more »
Shonali
5 years 4 months ago
Gini, I’m not sure I see the point of Chris’ post, since he does acknowledge that it’s neither efficient, nor did he “sell a few thousand books.” I suppose the point was to encourage people to try something different. I think that’s a good idea if one’s conducting a workshop for executives, say, to see how they can engage (I know, that word is overused, but still…) in SM when they’re not used to doing it, but it’s really not a practical use of anyone’s time. What I might have done, if I were trying something like this, would be… Read more »
Shonali
5 years 4 months ago
Gini, I’m not sure I see the point of Chris’ post, since he does acknowledge that it’s neither efficient, nor did he “sell a few thousand books.” I suppose the point was to encourage people to try something different. I think that’s a good idea if one’s conducting a workshop for executives, say, to see how they can engage (I know, that word is overused, but still…) in SM when they’re not used to doing it, but it’s really not a practical use of anyone’s time. What I might have done, if I were trying something like this, would be… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago
Who is Chris Brogan? And why would someone craft this strategy? Does this person have a Book to sell or a bias angle that benefits them? Does this person possibly get overpaid to speak and needs a new Schitck so as not to get stale. Anyway this is push advertising at its most invading and startling. No better way to crash Location Based Services and have people FREAKING out about stalkers than this. When I find out who Chris Brogan is I am going to show up at restaurants he checks into or tweets from to say hi…many times..no matter… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago
Who is Chris Brogan? And why would someone craft this strategy? Does this person have a Book to sell or a bias angle that benefits them? Does this person possibly get overpaid to speak and needs a new Schitck so as not to get stale. Anyway this is push advertising at its most invading and startling. No better way to crash Location Based Services and have people FREAKING out about stalkers than this. When I find out who Chris Brogan is I am going to show up at restaurants he checks into or tweets from to say hi…many times..no matter… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@KenMueller I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about all of the things you’ve outlined… I asked myself those very same questions. I even thought about commenting on his blog, but it’d be my first time commenting on his blog and I didn’t want it to be a “you’re totally wrong” comment. Plus, I’ve really been thinking about this since Monday, when I read the post, so I figured I needed to write about it. I agree with you that there is HUGE value in listening and monitoring, but do it in ways that are efficient with your… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@KenMueller I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about all of the things you’ve outlined… I asked myself those very same questions. I even thought about commenting on his blog, but it’d be my first time commenting on his blog and I didn’t want it to be a “you’re totally wrong” comment. Plus, I’ve really been thinking about this since Monday, when I read the post, so I figured I needed to write about it. I agree with you that there is HUGE value in listening and monitoring, but do it in ways that are efficient with your… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago

@Shonali its grasping for straws. Sounds like someone was bored. Was possibly toking the bong and was like ‘OMG DUUUUUUUUDDDDDEEEEE! Seriously check this out…hold on….wait..uhm…OH YEAH! So this would be such a fun way to freak someone out!’

Seriously coming from past experience there are plenty of ‘light bulbs’ that one gets from the hemp that should never be shared with others nevermind blogged about.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago

@Shonali its grasping for straws. Sounds like someone was bored. Was possibly toking the bong and was like ‘OMG DUUUUUUUUDDDDDEEEEE! Seriously check this out…hold on….wait..uhm…OH YEAH! So this would be such a fun way to freak someone out!’

Seriously coming from past experience there are plenty of ‘light bulbs’ that one gets from the hemp that should never be shared with others nevermind blogged about.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@Shonali I don’t know if I agree even with this tact. You know the whole “doing less with more” mantra we’ve been living for 15 or more months? Why would we spend time on something that isn’t going to net us much? That being said, I’ll bet it totally works for Chris because, like I said, there are people who would totally freak because he tweeted them and they WOULD buy his book. Plus that’s kind of fun. But even an hour of a business leader’s time (or a published author’s) to try to sell that way is a gigantic… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@Shonali I don’t know if I agree even with this tact. You know the whole “doing less with more” mantra we’ve been living for 15 or more months? Why would we spend time on something that isn’t going to net us much? That being said, I’ll bet it totally works for Chris because, like I said, there are people who would totally freak because he tweeted them and they WOULD buy his book. Plus that’s kind of fun. But even an hour of a business leader’s time (or a published author’s) to try to sell that way is a gigantic… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM You’re a smart ass. LOL! Because of his celebrity status, I totally see this working for him. But he’s one in about a zillion. It just won’t work for normal people.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM You’re a smart ass. LOL! Because of his celebrity status, I totally see this working for him. But he’s one in about a zillion. It just won’t work for normal people.

jonbuscall
5 years 4 months ago
Je suis definitely with you on this one. I can’t believe Chris is suggesting this beause of the amount of money involved. Sure, the benefit might be word of mouth – that other people go out and get the book or follow Chris or connect with him as a result – but even so. I wouldn’t recommend this kind of advice. However, I would say to a cafe or coffee shop that it’s worth targeting local customers because if you convert them with your tweets (and special offers, e.g. lunch menu of the day. 10% off if you mention this… Read more »
jonbuscall
5 years 4 months ago
Je suis definitely with you on this one. I can’t believe Chris is suggesting this beause of the amount of money involved. Sure, the benefit might be word of mouth – that other people go out and get the book or follow Chris or connect with him as a result – but even so. I wouldn’t recommend this kind of advice. However, I would say to a cafe or coffee shop that it’s worth targeting local customers because if you convert them with your tweets (and special offers, e.g. lunch menu of the day. 10% off if you mention this… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@jonbuscall That’s a great point about local and I think that’s what @Shonali recommends too. But I think that is part of your larger marketing strategy, not a “growing ears” strategy. And you’re much more efficient with your time and money with something like this. It worked for Zappos in the early days of Twitter with not a lot of time. Perhaps there is a way to do it efficiently for local businesses.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@jonbuscall That’s a great point about local and I think that’s what @Shonali recommends too. But I think that is part of your larger marketing strategy, not a “growing ears” strategy. And you’re much more efficient with your time and money with something like this. It worked for Zappos in the early days of Twitter with not a lot of time. Perhaps there is a way to do it efficiently for local businesses.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago
@ginidietrich Maybe when you get to be a celeb you have to go into overdrive hoping to keep that status? But seriously. Who is Chris Brogan? BTW what I learned when I came to Advertising is ROI is a filthy dirty word. My response is…the CFO determines your budget and without ROI you get no budget. Agencies get revenue from billings. More billings is good. The answer to all marketing is more billings. Never smarter spend. Social is the worst because you can measure ROI and companies like Facebook ignore it completely and try to hide the numbers to be… Read more »
HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago
@ginidietrich Maybe when you get to be a celeb you have to go into overdrive hoping to keep that status? But seriously. Who is Chris Brogan? BTW what I learned when I came to Advertising is ROI is a filthy dirty word. My response is…the CFO determines your budget and without ROI you get no budget. Agencies get revenue from billings. More billings is good. The answer to all marketing is more billings. Never smarter spend. Social is the worst because you can measure ROI and companies like Facebook ignore it completely and try to hide the numbers to be… Read more »
jonbuscall
5 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich @jonbuscall @Shonali As far as local businesses are concerned, I actually think it’s better to schedule tweets and broadcast them. I see tourists tweeting for cafés, restaurant tips, etc, here in Stockholm. Scheduled posts would be found in search.

Of course, direct approaches are better (and more social!) but this is something you could do more sporadically if you’re short of time.

Bottom line: how much ROI are you going to get from cold-call tweets?

jonbuscall
5 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich @jonbuscall @Shonali As far as local businesses are concerned, I actually think it’s better to schedule tweets and broadcast them. I see tourists tweeting for cafés, restaurant tips, etc, here in Stockholm. Scheduled posts would be found in search.

Of course, direct approaches are better (and more social!) but this is something you could do more sporadically if you’re short of time.

Bottom line: how much ROI are you going to get from cold-call tweets?

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM that;s it right there! it’s annoying! even from Chris Brogan. goes against everything on which we counsel our clients. It’s not relationship building, it’s invasive. I’m curious to know what Chris’ real point was in the post.

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM that;s it right there! it’s annoying! even from Chris Brogan. goes against everything on which we counsel our clients. It’s not relationship building, it’s invasive. I’m curious to know what Chris’ real point was in the post.

Shonali
5 years 4 months ago
@ginidietrich Completely agree on the less is more approach. But it’s possible to reach new/different people by using hashtags smartly, which is the alternative I would have tried – again, emphasis on “tried” – if I were doing something like this. It all depends on what he was trying to achieve. Clearly, from the sales and efficiency point of view, he wouldn’t achieve much. I think @jonbuscall ‘s idea of scheduling such tweets is a great one, but what I’d make sure, if I were doing that, was to also acknowledge/respond to them in some way. Like I said earlier,… Read more »
Shonali
5 years 4 months ago
@ginidietrich Completely agree on the less is more approach. But it’s possible to reach new/different people by using hashtags smartly, which is the alternative I would have tried – again, emphasis on “tried” – if I were doing something like this. It all depends on what he was trying to achieve. Clearly, from the sales and efficiency point of view, he wouldn’t achieve much. I think @jonbuscall ‘s idea of scheduling such tweets is a great one, but what I’d make sure, if I were doing that, was to also acknowledge/respond to them in some way. Like I said earlier,… Read more »
Shonali
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM LOL. Maybe it was one of those days he couldn’t come up with something better…

Shonali
5 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM LOL. Maybe it was one of those days he couldn’t come up with something better…

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago

@lisagerber Welcome to Spin Sucks Lisa! When is your Video Interview with @ginidietrich being posted? Did she warn you about me before or after you took the job?

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 4 months ago

@lisagerber Welcome to Spin Sucks Lisa! When is your Video Interview with @ginidietrich being posted? Did she warn you about me before or after you took the job?

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich So I guess now we sit back and wait and see how you get categorized…

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich So I guess now we sit back and wait and see how you get categorized…

markwschaefer
markwschaefer
5 years 4 months ago
Believe it or not, I’m going to defend Chris on this one. And it’s not the cold medicine talking. First, I think this is a clever guerilla marketing technique. Why not try it? No downside other than a chance you might creep somebody out. Second, I don’t think Chirs is doing an economic calculation to determine the cost-benefit analysis of a tweet. Today, books are not about making money. It is a business card that opens new business opportunities. He’s not selling a book, he’s creating a fan. And a movement is about creating one fan at a time. So… Read more »
markwschaefer
markwschaefer
5 years 4 months ago
Believe it or not, I’m going to defend Chris on this one. And it’s not the cold medicine talking. First, I think this is a clever guerilla marketing technique. Why not try it? No downside other than a chance you might creep somebody out. Second, I don’t think Chirs is doing an economic calculation to determine the cost-benefit analysis of a tweet. Today, books are not about making money. It is a business card that opens new business opportunities. He’s not selling a book, he’s creating a fan. And a movement is about creating one fan at a time. So… Read more »
CLGraphics
CLGraphics
5 years 4 months ago
After reading your post, I read Mr. Brogan’s post. I read the comments on his post, then I read the comments here on your post. As a ghost writer I often have clients who are venturing into self publishing ask me for marketing advice… usually because they know about this side of my career as well. If they’re asking me to write on spec, ($ based on sales of finished project) I refer them to a couple of agents and advise them to develop a complete and thorough marketing plan and then invite them to pitch me their project with… Read more »
CLGraphics
CLGraphics
5 years 4 months ago
After reading your post, I read Mr. Brogan’s post. I read the comments on his post, then I read the comments here on your post. As a ghost writer I often have clients who are venturing into self publishing ask me for marketing advice… usually because they know about this side of my career as well. If they’re asking me to write on spec, ($ based on sales of finished project) I refer them to a couple of agents and advise them to develop a complete and thorough marketing plan and then invite them to pitch me their project with… Read more »
FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 4 months ago

Great idea. While you’re at it, tweet customers at your dry cleaner to pick up your shirts for you. That, too, would show you’re listening — and are so self-important that you think strangers will follow your self-serving requests.

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 4 months ago

Great idea. While you’re at it, tweet customers at your dry cleaner to pick up your shirts for you. That, too, would show you’re listening — and are so self-important that you think strangers will follow your self-serving requests.

Shonali
5 years 4 months ago

@markwschaefer I think you’re cool for trying to provide another point of view. But IMHO, the downside that you might creep someone out – specifically because this is about using LBS – is a pretty big one. I would hate it if I were on the receiving end of something like this. And I’m not sure how that creates a fan.

Shonali
5 years 4 months ago

@markwschaefer I think you’re cool for trying to provide another point of view. But IMHO, the downside that you might creep someone out – specifically because this is about using LBS – is a pretty big one. I would hate it if I were on the receiving end of something like this. And I’m not sure how that creates a fan.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@FollowtheLawyer OH! Will you pick up my dry cleaning? I hate doing it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@FollowtheLawyer OH! Will you pick up my dry cleaning? I hate doing it.

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago
@lisagerber @HowieSPM @ginidietrich I think this might go to a much larger conversation that needs to happen. The buzzwords of Social Media have always been “community”, “build relationships”, “engage”, “dialogue”, etc. We talk about the Social aspect of social media (rightly so), and all of the biggest books out there, from Brogan,etc, try to hammer these ideas into our head. But in the end, are we just giving those buzzwords lipservice? I don’t see a lot of those things being put into practice, especially by the superstars who write about them. I’m trying, hard, as I work primarily with small… Read more »
KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 4 months ago
@lisagerber @HowieSPM @ginidietrich I think this might go to a much larger conversation that needs to happen. The buzzwords of Social Media have always been “community”, “build relationships”, “engage”, “dialogue”, etc. We talk about the Social aspect of social media (rightly so), and all of the biggest books out there, from Brogan,etc, try to hammer these ideas into our head. But in the end, are we just giving those buzzwords lipservice? I don’t see a lot of those things being put into practice, especially by the superstars who write about them. I’m trying, hard, as I work primarily with small… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@markwschaefer Mark, I totally agree that it works for Chris Brogan. But if you’re a newly published author who doesn’t yet have a brand or “status,” this would (in @Shonali ‘s words) creep someone out. Isn’t it the worst kind of push marketing? Hey! I see you’re at Barnes & Noble! Buy my book! He didn’t say that…what he did say is he tweeted people to ask if his book was at the Barnes & Noble they were visiting and he did it based on whether or not their Twitter bio represented someone who would a) know who he is… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago
@markwschaefer Mark, I totally agree that it works for Chris Brogan. But if you’re a newly published author who doesn’t yet have a brand or “status,” this would (in @Shonali ‘s words) creep someone out. Isn’t it the worst kind of push marketing? Hey! I see you’re at Barnes & Noble! Buy my book! He didn’t say that…what he did say is he tweeted people to ask if his book was at the Barnes & Noble they were visiting and he did it based on whether or not their Twitter bio represented someone who would a) know who he is… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller I really hope it’s that I did this for the link bait. 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller I really hope it’s that I did this for the link bait. 🙂

pacebutlercorp
pacebutlercorp
5 years 4 months ago
All of this does seem a bit odd, but if I got a tweet/text from Seth Godin, I might actually go do it. The status definitely helps. Thinking about the actual scenario, I think most people would be pretty willing to do it. It’s something different, it’s someone different to engage, and for selfish reason, I might get re-tweeted by Chris Brogan. I think as narcissistic as Twitter can be sometimes, I think this would work more times than not. Sure, there’s not a great ROI, but i’m going to have to agree with @markwschaefer . I think this is… Read more »
pacebutlercorp
pacebutlercorp
5 years 4 months ago
All of this does seem a bit odd, but if I got a tweet/text from Seth Godin, I might actually go do it. The status definitely helps. Thinking about the actual scenario, I think most people would be pretty willing to do it. It’s something different, it’s someone different to engage, and for selfish reason, I might get re-tweeted by Chris Brogan. I think as narcissistic as Twitter can be sometimes, I think this would work more times than not. Sure, there’s not a great ROI, but i’m going to have to agree with @markwschaefer . I think this is… Read more »
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