Once again, Seth Godin is speaking my language.
In a post today he draws our attention to the difference between renting eyeballs (the old media way, where you buy an ad that is shown to the readers of, for example, a magazine) and actually owning the platform - owning the magazine or other media.
He gives an example of the local real estate agent:
She can spend to run ads every week in the local paper, or she can use the same money to start a legitimate media channel, a digital magazine, say, one that cheers on the school and gives the local paper a run for its money. And oh yes, the only houses listed for sale are hers. It might take a lot of work and even some money. But what does she get? A platform forever.
It's the route to owning the market.
Seth wraps up with this:
Compared to the cost of renting eyeballs, buying a platform is cheap. Filling it with people eager to hear from you... that's the expensive part. But if you don't invest in the platform, you'll be at a disadvantage, now and forever. The smart way to build a brand today is to invest in the elements of the platform... the product, the technology, the websites (plural) and the systems you need to make it easy for people to show up at your very own trade show. And then embrace these people and shoot for 90% conversion, not .5%.
Like most good investments, it's expensive and worth more than it costs.
Be a publisher, not an advertiser.
(P.S. When I last wrote on this theme, someone emailed me to say that yes, it's a good idea, but not practical. No real estate agent (or other) is going to do this. That's almost true. But I said in reply that the one that does do this - that does invest the time, energy and money - will clean up.)