Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Marketing lesson from the Dilbert Blog.

Several years ago I found myself nutsack deep in flaming e-mails for my prediction that illegal downloads of music would lead to lower sales of CDs. It seemed obvious to me, but scores of illegal music downloaders and self-proclaimed marketing geniuses argued vehemently that these “free samples” would lead to increased sales of CDs. That didn’t happen, of course, because it turns out that people prefer “free and instant” over “overpriced and later.” This experience reinforced my belief that my MBA gave me a better understanding of markets than my verbal sparring partners got from doing bongs and thinking as hard as they could.

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I don’t regret making God’s Debris available for free. I had nothing to lose, since the hardcopy of God’s Debris was published in 2001 and had run its course. I was happy just to know that I had one of the most read books on earth for a month. It was worth a shot. But I think I demonstrated one marketing truth: When something is free, that’s what people expect to pay for the next one.

The Dilbert Blog


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