Mailbox used to be an object associated with joy and sweet surprises. Back then when the Internet and email were not as common as today, people used to write letters and cards with real pen and paper. Opening a mailbox was an exciting daily ritual. But now, thanks to the inexpensive printing and distribution services, we get tons of marketing materials, a.k.a. spam, enough to diminish the positive experience of opening the mailbox.
I am pretty positive that the marketeer is paying the mailmen to insert marketing materials into our mailbox. These flyers don’t have stamps on them, hinting that they’re not going through the regular postal service system.
I was getting more and more frustrated. Couple weeks ago, every time I cleared my mailbox, I got the exact same piles of junk flyers resting in the box again the next day. I suspected that the mailman was making fun of me.
So I thought of a way to signal the mailman that I had enough. I started to just pick up the real mails that are properly stamped, and left all unsolicited materials inside the box. After a short while, the box was stuffed by junk mail. My hope is that if the box is already filled with junks then the mailman cannot put more junk into it.
However, as soon as the mailbox was filled, I saw this today in front of my doorstep.
So it seems that unless I complain to the estate manager or post office, write to the local newspaper and make it a big deal, so that someone in the system got punished, this unsolicited marketing material distribution will never end.
Why do I blog this? I want to compare the scenario with “social marketing” or any future marketing techniques. Stripping out the technology involved, you will see that the marketing model and the whole formula appear to be identical: a new communication technology emerges, and then people start using it and emotionally attached to it, until the user base grows to a tipping point that it appears in the marketeers’ radar. So some smarter marketeers explore and carry a few successful marketing campaigns, but soon the ungifted copycats pick up and saturate the market with their low quality imitations. Finally the technology loses it’s initial appeal to people and goes down the spiral of death, waiting for another new technology to come in and start the whole cycle again.
Some examples in my mind are ICQ, MSN, Twitter, Facebook, and maybe Google Waves?