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I’ve noticed a trend in my inbox lately. More and more people are sending me stuff about exclusive things. Exclusive invitation to this seminar. Exclusive invitation to participate in that focus group. Exclusive deal on this or that product. And these are opt-in messages, never mind the spam.

To anyone marketing to me: if you use the word exclusive with me, you’re an idiot. Seriously. I don’t feel special when you send me something that is exclusive. I feel like you just want to get me away from the people whose opinions I trust in the vain hopes that you might catch me on an off day to buy/promote/consume whatever stupid product or service you have. Exclusive in a word-of-mouth world means you DON’T want me to talk about your stuff, and probably means it’s not worth talking about anyway.

To anyone marketing to me: if you want to get my attention, send me an INCLUSIVE invitation. Tell me that whatever promotion you’re running is licensed under Creative Commons and that I can do with it as I please as long as I don’t try to make money off of you. Tell me that I’m free to ask my friends and colleagues what they think of your service, and if it’s a seminar, function, etc., tell me that I can bring friends with me – or bring the seminar to them. Tell me that I’m free to record and share the experiences I have with you and your brand, and if I say something negative about my experience, fix it so that everyone can have a better experience with you. If you understand social media, if you understand the power of word of mouth, all of this will not be news. In fact, it will be boring.

My hope is that one day I am boring and irrelevant when it comes to how to inclusively market to people.

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