Monday, 10 August 2009

I Want to be Free!!!

Everything everywhere is FREE! Is this just a marketing gimmick?

As my father would say:
“Free but who pays?”

In the old world of physical product, if something is free then someone will pay in the end. Most FREE offers are actually the old ‘bait and switch’ strategy.

One way or another it is you that will pay for the free product.


In the new world there is a real free – the marginal cost of storing and distributing digital 'product' is negligible so it can be given away for free with no-one paying for it.


My kids can use computers given to them with a phone contract… they use free mobiles (so the operator makes money on minutes sold) and use Google (free) and Skype (free), Wikipedia (free), Flicker (free) and FaceBook (free) to find out about everything they need.


There is an unwritten assumption that you should give things away for free (
"because the competition do..."). Is that right for you? A free healthcheck... a free test drive... a free audit...

For some businesses the "giving it away for free" approach may send out the wrong message.


On the other hand the consumer loves the TBYB (Try Before You Buy) philosophy. Some consumers will feel more likely to buy because of the moral contract created. Some will be free-loaders. It all depends on what you think is the best way to capture the best clients for your business.


Should you be giving anything away at all?


Or should you be giving more away than you are doing at the moment?

Are you clear about what you should be giving away and why?
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