I am frequently critical of the print publishing industry. Sigh. Here we go again! Here’s a Tweet I just saw:
Via my wife: the Barnes & Noble in Gaithersburg MD is refusing to allow people w/o power at home from recharging devices there. cc @BN_care
— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) July 2, 2012
Who can blame the store manager, right? I mean, with all of the power outages down there most of those folks probably haven’t showered in a few days. Besides, we all know that business is going just swimmingly in the brick and mortar book selling industry so who needs good will?
Community Inbound Marketing
This made me think… A typical U.S. electrical outlet can support about 1440 watts of load. An iPhone charger is rated at 10 watts but it draws much less than that. This means you could safely plug 144 iPhones into a single outlet (theoretically). At $0.07 per kilowatt hour, it would cost them about five cents per outlet per hour (assuming around a 5 watt load).
But what would those 144 people do for an hour while they waited for their phones to charge? It’s pretty warm down there so I’m guessing they’re thirsty and may get a lemonade or ice coffee from the cafe. They might even kill a tree or two and buy a book or magazine. But those are just the obvious benefits.
The whole idea of inbound marketing on the Internet is to be generous and give away great content that helps other people, positions you as a thought leader and attracts new leads. If I were this store manager, I would run to Home Depot and grab as many extension cords and power strips as I could. Then I’d put up a big old sign outside that said, “Free Gadget Charging!” And when my store was jammed to the limit of the local fire codes, I’d start Tweeting pictures.
Do you think that would create some good will, not to mention some foot traffic? Sheesh.
Photo credit: Free Hugs by Patrick Haney on Flickr.