If you ever took an MBA class or involved in sales talk, there is always talk of sales funnel. Sales funnel starts with getting leads at the top of the funnel and then getting orders at the bottom with sales rep. doing most of the work in between.
Sales funnel is a traditional marketing concept where you spend trillions of dollars ( or euros or rupees) just for getting people to your shop and expecting some of them to buy your product. It has worked for so many years and I would not cast doubts on such a concept.
Let us for a moment think that people come to your shop without you spending a $, get free gifts and still buy something. Would not be that businesses’ delight? The funnel is now a hollow cylinder. This is because there are now so many people who come in as lead, convert to sales and then get in more people . It is like a perpetual machine. Once you set it in motion, there is no stopping it.
One of the example that comes to my mind is Seth Godin who gives his content for free. He writes books as well. Does his book sell? Of course , he is the bestselling author in his area.
Some years back MIT started an open course ware . There are around 2000 courses online available for reading. There is something like “86.8 M visits to OCW content from an estimated as of Oct 09”.
“OCW is accessed by a broadly international population of educators and learners”
“17% of educators coming to the site have reused content and 32% expect to do so in the future.”
So the major beneficiaries of the course is of course whole of the world. What did MIT gain? Unheard reputation and prestige gains .Just see the traffic to their site
You can read it all here.
There are plenty of companies that have given out products, knowledge for almost free( nothing more than an email) and it has come back to benefit them. A few examples that come to my mind is IBM , Sun Java, WordPress etc.
Traditional marketing is good for getting the sales but it cannot match the ultimate power of giving away things. Getting customers for free. Is that even possible ?