Thursday, October 29, 2015

It’s raining free drones on Linkedin … but here is the catch

Attracting the attention of IT decision makers and influencers is hard. We typically get a barrage of inputs from articles in the trade press, analyst briefings and reports and many of us subscribe to RSS readers for topics of interest. To say that we are drowning in the deluge of information from which we are expected to draw insights would be an understatement. This said each of us probably has a small subset of favorite go-to sources. For me, scrolling through the LinkedIn home page to review articles, Pulse posts and topics that my peers have “liked” is among the list. This is the consumer side of the equation.

For the content producers – including tech companies, startups and others with a product to sell - standing out from the crowd and be noticed is especially hard. And it is easy to get lost in the deluge of information that typical IS executives, managers and other leaders receive every day. Therefore, it is not surprising to see creative approaches to reach out to prospects: if the number of a sponsored posts on my LinkedIn homepage is any indication, Drone giveaways seem to be it! 

Product and sample giveaways have been a favorite marketing tactic for ages. Tagging on the hype over drones and the geeky-cool factor of trying one out, this seems to be a catchy way to attract attention! So, what’s the catch, one is bound to wonder?
  • Time and effort: Even a cursory look at the ‘conditions’ that the hyperlink on the advert highlights a series of tasks one has to perform, including attending pre-sales pitches, downloading and trying software, linking back one’s network etc etc. All this translates to considerable time and effort one would have to invest to ‘earn’ the ‘Free’ drone.
  • Implicit and sometimes explicit commitment: by downloading and trying the software or engaging in the trail, one is committing oneself - and perhaps one’s employer. This may not necessarily be an issue if one was planning to evaluate such software even without the inducement of a “Free drone”.
  • Added to obscure rolodex/databases: One can expect a continuum of pre-sales calls, pitches and emails to follow after the demo, and perhaps much after the drone has outlived its novelty.
One has to evaluate if all this is worth the cost of a drone? Not for me, thanks; I am just as happy with the inexpensive Syma S111G that I bought on Amazon to play with my six-year-old 

(cross post from my LinkedIn Pulse article)

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