SOPA – It’s like Deja Vu all over again

social marketing casey stengel

Casey Stengel "It's like Deja Vu all over again"

 If you have ever had the unfortunate circumstance to look at my photo, you will immediately notice two things.  One is that I am a marketer [because I said so] and that I am old.  This makes me an “old marketer” and allows me to tell brief but important stories from the past.  So, here comes one:

Just after the dinosaurs died out and I got my MBA, I was attracted to a new form of marketing called “Direct Marketing”.  While I was attracted to it because it was measurable, testable, and I could analyze and develop it, my bosses were primarily attracted to it because it was cheap, new to most propsects, effective and – did I mention cheap?  As a result, we mailed A LOT…I mean A LOT.  Like we mained millions evey month.  In fact, at one point we tried to develop a single campaign with 4 million prospects!  As I recall, we didn’t make it but we got close.  And this campaign was in addition to dozens of similar efforts we were excuting at the same time.

And why not?

We felt that everyone in the US would purchase from direct mail…if only we could get them the righ prodct and make an attractive offer.  And, because there were no laws governing it, we pursued our goals of direct mailing everyone we coule because we were oncinved it would work.

As direct marketing grew, consumer [rightly] grew tired of this intrusive form of marketing.  Even though we in the industry sensed this backlash [all you had to do was listen to people calling our call center], we did little to help them.  Further, our major associations also avoided the issue.  They fought any attempt to monitor direct mail and, for the most part, viewed any governmental action as negative.  We fought it for as long as we could … to our detriment.  Consumers began calling it “junk mail” and they were right.

The SAME THING happened with telemarketing and emails.  Each time, the industry paid scant attention to consumer and givernmental interests and failed to lead in addressing key concerns.

This brings us to SOPA

History is repeating itself.  As marketing and business managers, we need to:

  1. Get educated on SOPA and its implications for your business – I posted some great videos and links as have others.  Find out the broad reaching powers it grants to government and its impact on you
    1. Here is a great article from Forbes with several great SOPA options 
    2. Another one from gizmodo
  2. Better understand the issues & [more importantly] the nature of the problem – While I agree copyright & intellectual property rights are important, if most of the problem is overseas, then punishing US citizens is not the solution.  It is just a loss of rights and freedoms.  I encourage you to understand where the problem is and determine if the SOPA solution, no matter how it is re-written, is the right solution.
  3. Get in touch with your representatives in Washington –  The law is currently being re-written.  Tell them your concerns about the current plan and how we should manage the internet to punish those who break existing laws which leaving most of us alone.

Now is the time for action…before someone in Washington does it for you.  Thanks

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Randy Hlavac
Randy Hlavac is a marketing futurist who – since 1990 – has worked to integrate new technologies into the marketing strategies & tactics of B2B and B2C companies.

January 2012
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