When I was hired to help Cesar Millan in 2005 to sell a few DVDs online the idea that it would take more than a functioning online store to launch an online buisness was not yet common knowledge. In the case of Cesarsway.com, the thought of investing in a multifaceted online universe of content in order to drive millions of users a month towards engagement and sales seemed bold and risky. At the time it seemed like a gamble to invest resources in content that we would just give away for free. As Director of Web Development I argued with stakeholders for the need to ‘give away’ the content. It did not take long to start seeing the value in expanding the business beyond the store front. This approach of being willing to spend time, money, and effort in creating meaningful content to promote engagement is what the famous Marketer Seth Godin calls cultivating a culture of gifts.
In the example of Cesarsway.com, publishing content was more than just a method to increase web traffic. We greatly influence the online conversation around dog behavior making Mr. Millan the moderator and wise elder. Fans responded by increasing spending hours of the platform and avocating for both the content and the product line that supported the conversation.