Monday, March 12, 2007

more-thought-required practice

Today I signed up for a ‘free’ white paper from one of the many sites that have them on offer.

Downloading these papers is a common experience for me – many are featured on my web site. This practice - sometimes called ‘white paper marketing’ – is used primarily as a lead generator in that anyone wanting the paper will normally have to complete a form – so giving the company some information about yourself.

And here’s the thing. I have yet to come across one that acknowledges that I am unlikely to ever be a customer because I am an academic [or I could be a student] doing research on the subject area of the paper. So when they ask for the industry I work in and what I do, why not include academic / student / researcher in the list? In their metrics I will be showing up as a potential lead, which I am not. And they are not recording how many lecturers are downloading the material – and passing them on to students. [therefore one download might = many views].

Postscript May 9th - I like WebTrends, I've downloaded [and distributed] lots of their stuff. So when, today, I received an email inviting me to watch a complimentary 15 minute webcast on paid-search marketing I clicked on the link. Oh dear, mistake. Some minutes later when I had finished completing all my personal details - name, department, job role, inside leg measurement ... - I clicked on the 'continue' button - and another page. This time wanting more details about the organization.

Harumph. Hey guys and gals, I have no authority to buy in your services. I'm a lecturer. I'm just trying to keep up with my subject - and not only could I not be bothered to complete the next page of details - I didn't even know the answers to some of the questions.

And no, I didn't get to hear your comp web cast.

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