There's a little something that is beginning to emerge in online marketing. People are looking for ways to take advantage of it. Some of the ways are good and some truly suck. The little thing that is gaining importance in this online world is what I think I will call The "H" Factor.
"H" as in human. The days of acquiring a website and plastering your links everywhere you can possibly plaster them are coming to an end. There's several reasons the link plastering is dying. The biggest reason in my opinion is the fact that people are "wary" of unknown links.
Phishing, fraud and identity theft have taken their toll. People are listening to what they are hearing from experts in the fields of identity theft and others who have been telling them for a couple of years now not to click on links they don't know or recognize. Even links received from someone you "know" can be suspect as hackers use hijacker viruses and spoof e-mails to futher their fraud.
The other reason is that Spam has become just as annoying as that telemarketing phone call in the middle of dinner. Just as we have the National Do Not Call Registry, there is now a reporting agency for spam emails(firstname.lastname@example.org). How many complaints will it take before they set up some form of national list for spam, setting up the marketer for criminal charges when they try to do their job?
Now here is where you see changes actually taking place today, there are fewer "spammy" profiles on social sites than there werea couple of years ago. Think about look at some of the older social networks and you basically have a profile composed of banner ads. Banners for this banners for that links to this that and the other. Today you see more profiles that contain more personal information and less advertising. Marketers are realizing that prospects and clients have to see them as human, they have to see some sort of a connection between you and them.
People are angry about the bailouts. The government is telling us that we cannot let these big companies fail because it will ruin the economy. People don't care about that, there are looking at the fact that the fat cats running these businesses are taking home millions of dollars a year in salaries, they have retirement and bonus packages that would make even King Midas say enough already. These fat cat tycoons are not "Human" They are a totally different breed completely alien to the average person.
The marketer must now become Joe Schmoe next door. You have to be someone they could hang out with at the corner bar and toss back a beer or two over a game of pool. You have to be the mom getting your kids off to school and taking them to soccer practice. Believe it or not you have to be just like them. We would not have even given Sarah Palin a passing thought except for the fact that she was "the woman next door". She understood completely what it took to sell herself, she understood the "H" Factor.
As we move into the new year and ready ourselves to move into a new decade next year, The H Factor will play a major part in the success of the marketer. You will either grasp the concept and move forward with the knowledge of selling yourself as a human being or you will be left behind, a prehistoric oddity like a dinosaur fossil.