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Too often online marketing is characterised by quantity rather than quality. There's a pervasive idea that quality is too hard but sheer volume will have the same effect.

Let me give you a shining example of what I mean. I was recently browsing a forum when I found, without a doubt, the dumbest attempt at marketing I've seen in a while.

Here's the text – I've edited the product name out of it because if I were this marketer's boss I'd be dying inside.

It began: "I keep hearing so much about the XXXX from XXXX and I was wondering if anyone here has ever tried it?"

Fair enough, nothing contentious there.

It continued: "Everwhere (sic) I look on the internet I hear people praising this software as if it was gods gift to XXXX or something..."

Okay, the marketer thinks we're stupid but perhaps he or she just really likes their product.

But no, he was just getting started: "It's almost like a weird cult of personality, reminds me of obama mania before he got elected.

Really? You sure?

And then the grand finale, the marketer calls on us to join them in their orgy of delight at the product: "I'm thinking about giving this XXXX a go because of all the great things I hear about it and it's supposed unmatched results..

"Can anyone out there verify these claims from first hand experience or dispell them as just hype ALSO from first hand experience?? Thanks"

Now, that is a particularly dreadful example of someone without a clue actively damaging their brand by… well, clumsy isn’t the word – abysmal marketing endeavours.

Everything you do to promote your brand needs to be driven by quality. Look at just three key online marketing examples:

Search engine optimisation

For a while, the search engines were basic. They valued basic stuff – relevant keywords and lots of them.

Now, they value quality content and they are increasingly good at recognising it.

In fact, the quantity methods that previously worked now actively hurt many optimisation endeavours, as the search engines have got better at recognising and penalising unfair attempts at manipulating the search results.

Email marketing

So many companies still work by furiously spamming the world's inboxes and trusting that some will be opened and then a few will be acted upon. It's become the hallmark of a dodgy firm.

I suppose that, back at the start of the web, an email was such an unusual event that this worked. Now, of course, consumers are bombarded with marketing emails.

Mass-mailouts can result in your email address being automatically dumped in a junk folder, while useless content that does make it through can annoy your prospective client.

Once again, quality needs to be the watchword – target your email marketing carefully and make sure your content is valuable.

Social media marketing

The real skill when it comes to marketing via social media is to actively engage with your audience – i.e. the exact opposite to the forum post that inspired this rant.
You can't hope to achieve good Tweeting, blogging and forum activity without investing some time, thought and effort.

If you try to find shortcuts then you risk damaging your brand, alienating your audience and – as above – looking ridiculous.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 25 September, 2009 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Kevin,

I like the main comment of your blog, that quality is a better goal than quantity (unless of course the whole quantity is also pure quality - is that even possible?). 

Unfortunately, mass marketing veers towards the quantity angle. Take email - how many emails do you receive that really appeal to you and have tailored content based on your preferences/tastes/passions? I would imagine less than 5%. How many email marketers complain about low open/click/conversion rates yet do not invest in the technology and expertise to deliver targeted dynamic content? Sending an email with garden products to someone who once bought weed killer from you is not targeted, it is guestimation. That could have been a one-off purchase made for a friend, or for a specific reason. Perhaps that person has now moved and has no garden. There is a real challenge to understand purchase motivations and deliver relevant marketing.

I think social media provides a key challenge to traditional marketers who are used to push tactics. Social media is, as you suggest, reliant upon dialogue and engagement. People want to be listened to, talked to and engaged with such that they perceive a value to following you. Quality is essential - just look at Twitter and see how people who interact grow their presence quicker than someone who simply blanket sends messages of 140 character.

In my opinion, quality can't be bought, it has to be earned and that comes by listening to the people you want to talk to and finding out what they really want. You can never get it 100% right but you can always improve.

Thanks for the article


about 7 years ago


Mark Ellaway

I agree. Quality is far better than quantity. I know from our own experience that if you send out junk it ends in the junk box!

about 7 years ago


Ami Wright


It's about quality and quantity

No doubt quality matters. I mean that's what resilts in loyal visitors. be it to your website or blog

But put a high quality post only once a month and they will soon find somewhere else to hang out

about 7 years ago


Gary Halliwell

Hi Kevin - great insight into refuting the idea that "quality is too hard but sheer volume will have the same effect." It got me thinking about the different applications of quality. There are quality prospects - that's our business - and there's quality content. Both are key components of creating value for your customer, and as you say, "target carefully and make sure your content is valuable." Our take: http://blog.netprospex.com/quality/ Gary Halliwell CEO - NetProspex Inc.

about 7 years ago

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