Internet marketing will not save you or your business

It’s funny.

I recently bought a new car. It’s not that I needed a new car. My Mazda3 was perfectly capable, fun to drive and looked great in bright red. My problem? I get an itchy throttle pedal foot every couple of years.

You see, I like cars. Turbo cars, especially. I think it goes back to the fact that even though my first car, a 1989 Ford Probe GT, was possessed by Satan himself, I can’t get over that turbo rush of acceleration.

So I bought a Mini Cooper S. Small engine. Great gas mileage. Little turbo. Big fun.

But, I didn’t trade my old car on it, figuring I could make more money on a private sale. At least that way I’d not end up upside down. Or so I thought.

It turns out that the used car market is utterly saturated with people trying to sell good previously-owned vehicles.

Those of us in the internet marketing industry love to preach about how Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Youtube can be used to market virtually any business. But, I posted my Mazda to all of these, plus the auto trader online, Kijiji and even UseNet and didn’t receive a single email or call in almost three weeks. I posted great photos. I wrote a compelling ad. I priced the car reasonably. But I got nothing but a single call from a used car middleman. Actually he called twice.

The other night, I decided to move the car to the parking lot of a nearby mall. This might not be legal. It’s probably going to get towed or worse. But interestingly, I’ve received three calls in the last two days directly because of the car being located in this parking lot. They might not follow through and purchase the car. But at the very least, they took two seconds to call me. To me, a phone call is more effort than sending an email or @-replying to a tweet.

So why do people feel more comfortable calling on a random used car sale they see in a parking lot? The ads online are getting viewed. So it’s not that people aren’t interested in the car I have for sale.

I think it’s that some forms of media are simply better for certain types of businesses. It also goes back to the fact that social media, for all its value and excitement, is really all about the connections you make in person.

So next time you go to pour all of your money into a new media campaign, don’t forget to support it with a creative, off-line campaign. Some things just work better in person.

Previously posted on

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