Free marketing!

Although I can’t cite the source,  somewhere along the way this idea got in my head.

Free is the most powerful word in marketing.  If I think traditional advertising and promotion, and item and price, free attracts my eye and it certainly gets action.

In the 09 Super Bowl, Denny’s advertised and gave away free breakfast.  They estimate they received 50 million dollars in media coverage alone.  Search “Dennys Free Breakfast” and articles from all over the country come up, as well as lots of marketing discussion.

They got two million people to go to Denny’s and sample their “Grand Slam” brand.

Sure that cost something, but the benefit of getting that many people to act and actually visit, and the media coverage is just enormous.

Free works in advertising.  But free is also a powerful business model that we have become used to and take for granted.

For me, posting this blog…?  It’s free.

The social media platforms? Free… and let’s see how they continue to  “monetize” them.  Twitter would be a good example.

iTunes and other media players are free.  Browsers are free.  The online world has given away its basic product for the sake of network market share with a long tail of revenue, for a long time now. 

Come to think of it…television broadcasting has always been free.  Nothing new there. 

In Kevin Kellys book, New Rules for the New Economy, one of his points is, “Follow the free.  The net rewards generosity.”   He argues that “the net” causes many things to become more valuable as they become more of a commodity.  That’s right.  As they become more valuable they become cheaper.  Not exactly supply and demand.

But in his “free” chapter Kelly also says “the only factor becoming scarce is human attention.”  That is the challenge communicators face.

It seems to me that Denny’s did quite well with the scarce value of human attention.



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