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Can you cope with the withdrawal symptoms from one of the most powerful business related addictions in the World?


t’s a genius move when you think about it. You create a fantastic

product. People love it. They become addicted to it. They fall out of love with the products they used to use and abuse – and why wouldn’t they? They’re getting their cheap thrills for nothing. And then the owners start to turn the screws… But we’re not talking about something from Breaking Bad here. This is not methamphetamine. Nor is it Crack. It’s not even Cocaine. And Pablo Escobar is nowhere to be seen… Of course, I’m talking about one of the five biggest companies in the world, Facebook. And the man behind it, Mark Zuckerberg, appears to me as some modern day Robin Hood. You see, Mark’s latest move is genius. He runs the biggest marketing phenomenon that the World has ever seen. He’s let everyone become dependent on it. And now he’s pulled the rug from under your feet. And the best bit… he’s dressed it up in such a way that it looks like he’s making the changes for the good of the people! For years, businesses have managed to ride a wave of ‘relatively’ free publicity through the medium of Facebook. There were no major costs involved. You built up your

58 | Tackle & Guns | February 2018

business profile and accrued an army of fans. You put information out there, and a percentage of your followers got to hear what you were doing. Brilliant. Free marketing. As a business owner, you assessed what was happening. You looked at your marketing spend and thought about it. You realised you could cut a lot of your expenditure and plough more and more expertise into social media. It meant more on your bottom line, so why wouldn’t you do it? In many cases, throughout the many industries in the world, brand owners created social media departments – employing the journalists that had lost their jobs as magazine sales dwindled and advertisers pulled their budgets from magazines. Facebook’s latest changes promise an end to the ‘free ride’ that companies and brands have been given as the media conglomerate has decided (probably quite rightly) that the general public are no longer interested in the free commercial propaganda that’s being peddled. Now, if you want your message to get out there, you pay. Simple as! So where does that leave us, the fishing and shooting trades? Well that’s actually a tale of two

halves. For sure, the tackle trade has become massively dependent on social media. Magazines have declined and even disappeared. And companies and brand owners have got used to ‘not paying’ for marketing. Not totally. But you get my drift. Meanwhile, the gun trade, has had a few more ‘problems’ with social media. Rules are vague on what can and cannot be done. And this bears out with the magazines in the shooting trade, which have performed much better than their fishing counterparts. As I write this, the full implications of Facebook’s changes are beginning to come to fruition. Mark Zuckerberg promised a roll out of the changes over a four-week period, and already I’m hearing from marketing managers that their reach and engagement is falling through the floor. Meanwhile… I hear that Facebook

has forecast an extra $36 billion in revenue over the next year. Did I say Robin Hood? I meant Robin barstool…

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