You can buy attention (advertising)
You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales)
Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, photos, a Twitter stream, an ebook, a Facebook page.
Hat tip to Randy for opening my eyes to the simplicity of this as an explanation of social media marketing.
I had been talking about my "Buy, Beg, Bug" thing for more than a year now in my talks and first blogged it in a post called What we all really want is Attention. It was also in the What Matters Now ebook. But my explanations always seem to be way too long. Thanks Randy!
For an even longer version, consider watching my 45 minute keynote from the BMA conference this year. There's Q&A at the end. Direct link here