Value doesn’t equal money


Image: Courtesy of Found Magazine

Remember MySpace as a community platform before it became a marketing platform and ad network? Remember Second Life as a new way to interact with people before it became the marketing vehicle du jour and a user annoyance? Remember widgets when they were valuable and an innovative way to pull in information before marketers over-widgetized the world? Remember Facebook when it was a community platform with a few applications before marketers started to build almost 50,000 applications (at last count)? Remember the iPhone when it was a new way to interact with the mobile web before the application store launched and now it’s almost impossible to cut through the clutter and deliver a valuable application to the consumer?

Is there a trend?

It’s the tendency of marketers to jump on a bandwagon, fall into the trap of the GMOOT Syndrome (Give me one of those) and overwhelm platforms or new opportunities with marketing messages, not understanding how to add value. Marketers have problems making that switch from being professional disruptors to value-adders. Only if you add value to the user experience will you be able to stand out. Period.

People will leave a platform and move on when they feel exploited, when their user experience diminishes while the balance sheets of the platforms improve. Short-term.

Sure, it’s not only marketers fault. Platforms are often pushed into allowing marketers in as early as possible to facilitate growth and high valuations. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO Evan Williams promised a revenue model by Q1 2009. Will Twitter fall into the old trap? Or will they found new ways to work with marketers to add new value to the platform by adding new features and functionality? Or allowing users to engage with a brand in new and exciting ways? One can only hope for.

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