Years ago we gave a talk in Nashville about stealth marketing, or figuring out how to deselect the types of prospects you don’t want responding to you. This sounds harsh but every business has customers who cost far more to serve than they generate in profit, and marketers carefully try to avoid them. Direct mail campaigns do this all the time by selecting a list of “best prospects” (and by default ignoring others).
Now individuals can let in only the right customers, too, with Oodle classifieds. Oodle, which yesterday scored a $5.6 million round of additional funding, sells everything from $600,000 homes to $150 rat terriers. The company is experimenting with a “social classifieds” app on Facebook that allows users to screen out the weirdo factor — you know, unsavory types that may respond to your offer to sell a bedroom comforter. The concept is your classified ad will only appear in front of people whom you preview first.
The idea has pros and cons. On the plus side, if you are selling a beloved vinyl collection to make room for your new baby nursery, you may want to only let it go to a friend or someone whom you believe is an appropriate audiophile, and not the anti-Beatles nut who plans on burning the records for a local PR stunt. On the con, redlining customers has a touch of prejudice in it. Back in the 1930s the federal government tied itself in knots by withholding mortgages in inner cities, contributing to urban decay, and racial profiling has gotten insurance and credit card companies in hot water.
Right or wrong, now you can sell your personal stuff to only the people you know something about.
Photo: Only Alice