The Value of Free
By Frank Kenna
While riding my bike over the weekend, I rode by this collection of stuff and the word “Free” caught my attention, as it does most peoples’. I’ve read a lot about the concept of “free” lately, including a best-selling business book on the subject.
So I rode right up to the stuff to take a closer look. It was a collection of – to my eye – junk. An old window screen with some rust, a broken wooden chair, a dirty wooden spool… you get the picture. I thought, “What is the value of this ‘free’ stuff?” I instantly came up with my answer: $0.
At Marlin, we run into this all the time with prospective customers, albeit in a slightly different way. Company managers are always looking for information to help them solve their important workplace issues. For example, how should they effectively communicate on safety, productivity or quality? Or teamwork and morale? With today’s widespread use of Google and other search tools, they can enter any of those terms and instantly come up with thousands of pages of information. And most of it’s “free.” But what’s it worth?
Think of other information that people look for in their personal lives, for example, legal or medical advice. Sure, there are many sites that offer free information. But when a person gets sick, they go to the doctor. Or if they need serious legal advice, they’ll consult an attorney. Why? Because current, profession, correct information usually comes at a cost.
Workplace communications is no different. At Marlin, we have staffs of editors, researchers and graphic artists working daily to turn out digital signage content that makes a difference in a company’s performance and bottom line. It costs a lot to do so… it’s not free. But value is what it’s all about, and thousands of our subscribers agree.