The Indirect Push Strategy

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingIn the early days of the Internet, back when the network was mainly popular in universities and in the government, the businesses that discovered the Internet welcomed the opportunity to send e-mails to all the addresses they could find. Surely, they argued, people would like to know about the service they offered. To their surprise, the recipients would respond in anger to commercial e-mail and usually complained to the Internet service provider. As the Internet became more commercialized with individuals and businesses flocking to the network, the unsolicited messages became something to live with. Although some people actually like getting messages about services and offers, most people hate directly pushed messages. But now a new form of sending messages is appearing. What if somebody else, someone you known uses a service and you get informed about it? This is what I call the Indirect Push Strategy.

The strategy works as follows. When a person uses a service, for example, buys something from a business (preferably something electronic), you get the person to inform his or her friends on a social network. Now all the friends will see what the person bought or did and everything relevant to the purchase.  So the friends get the message indirectly.

Let’s take an example. A company sells audio books on the Internet. When I register on their web site I choose the social network that I use. The audio book company must ask me to approve that this information will be posted the network. It might even give me discount or promotional stuff in return. So, when I buy an audio book it will post to my news feed on Facebook saying, for example: “Ólafur Andri just bought the audio book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariley”. This would also go to my Twetter feed.

Now all my friends see this message. The audio book company pushed the message indirectly to my friends. The key point is that the company did not push this directly to them. They just see what their friend was doing. And if they don’t want to see this, they need to find new friends.

Of course this is a well know strategy in the Facebook world. When you play a game or take a survey, all your friends get informed. This is what makes it a social network. People share their activities.

The audio book example is just one example. Think about online concert tickets, movie downloads, phone apps and so on. The social network is powerful and someone will take advantage if it.