Are Marketing Offers Really Free?

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Free StuffThe touchy subject of whether anything worthwhile can ever be free came up whilst I was re-evaluating the marketing strategy for Synergy Kinetics. We often see offers being made by businesses with a claim that you may acquire them for free. Is this true or even realistic?

The Real Issue

The real concern that will lead most of us to raise this question is that we are all so acutely aware of the significance of value. The concept of value makes us think in terms of exchanging valuable things with other similarly valuable items and when we see no such characteristics in an interaction we are prone to deem the exchange valueless.

To use an analogy, supposing I give you a car which is run-down and will cost more to repair than it's worth for free. In this case, according to your sense of value, you will not feel that this is a worthwhile gift and throw it right back in my face, even if you might do so politely. But is this analogy applicable in all cases?

Is Anything Ever For Free

Nothing in life is for free, some argue and I tend to agree with this sentiment in some cases. When this statement is made, the understanding is that in a value based system we exchange value and therefore seek it in all exchanges. Be careful, however, to avoid the mistake of thinking in terms of currency or physical goods all the time.

We exchange value in various ways apart from through money or exchange of goods or services. Value can also be derived in other ways that encompass the  concepts of time, effort and attention. Even if you do not make a payment or exert yourself, you can exchange value by simply spending time on something, someone or by paying attention to something or someone.

Fairly considered, the statement that nothing is for free is mainly applicable in economic exchanges where goods and services are being traded. In these cases, either party in the transaction is expecting to find value for which the other party will need to be fairly and adequately compensated. Particularly note that, like stated before, this compensation does not have to take the form of currency.

Whilst it is impossible to get anything for free in the economic sense, it is absolutely possible to acquire some things of value at no direct cost to yourself. After all someone did say that the best things in life are free. Examples of free things can take many forms from the air we breath, to certain types of software- all of considerable value.

Don't Let The Marketing Hype Fool You

One very good example of situations where nothing is really for free is in situations you will often find in marketing promotions by certain businesses. In these scenario, a business will make you an offer and tell you that it is for free. As much as you would like to believe this, this is simply is not the case. It is more accurate for such businesses to say they are offering you something complementary or use some other less misleading terminology.

When you get such a “Free” offer, there is always one way or another through which you are paying for it, even if it is not so obvious. Often, the business making the offer to you is primarily interested in your engagement with them and your time and the attention you give their product or brand. Your participation ends up becoming your payment to the business in the form of the time and attention you provide.

A Case Of Yes and No

The answer to the question of whether anything worthwhile can ever be free is not a simple one and no single answer can be provided that is satisfactory. Depending on what situation you are dealing with, you can get something for free whilst deriving great value from it and in other circumstances the thinking that nothing in life is for free prevails as is the case in a marketing offer.

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