Distribution is Marketing

When we podcast the 2005 MIMA Summit – someone suggested we restrict access to the recordings. They’d be correct if the value of the conference was in the sessions. It’s not.

The value is in the hallway conversations, the handshakes, business card exchanges, and direct personal interactions. The sessions themselves are strictly the focal point, the common conversation piece, the marketing.

Every session ITConversations distributes is marketing for them, the conference, and the speaker.

Mark Cuban talks about the same phenomenon in the movies and television:

“It wasn’t that long ago that some people in the sports business thought that having games on TV would reduce attendance. After all, why go to the game when you can watch it for free on TV? Then someone decided to do some research and as it turns out, the more games you broadcast on TV, the more people who go to your games.”

This is also why the most effective use of ad dollars is in product development.

Update 21 January 2006:

“…a downloaded file is not a lost sale it’s a gained fan…” – Joichi Ito

3 Replies to “Distribution is Marketing”

  1. Garrick,

    I agree for larger organizations keeping a lot of things open and available is a great way to market. For a small organization or inidividual, information or the product become more valuable as it’s all the creator has.

    Example: A large book publisher can afford to give away a lot of free books, because it helps their overall goal of selling books in mass. An independent self-published author cannot afford to do this so readily.

    The publishing world is a good example of turning the “distribution is marketing” concept on its head. Just because books are in stores doesn’t mean they sell! Many authors unfortunately buy into that myth and once their book gets to all the major stores, they think their job is over.

    In that case, distribution is just distribution. It’s time to fire up the PR machine. Speaking of which, conferences are more about PR–as you succesfully pointed out.

  2. I disagree that large organizations are more capable than small to use free samples or other product-advertises-itself for the exact reason you state – that’s all they have. They need to make the most of their resources.

    Plus it all depends on what the business or individual are actually selling.

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