Beware of Bullshit Marketing!
So many marketers are full of crap. There. I said it. Don’t get me wrong. I love marketing, but because I am always engaged in learning more, I also know the tricks people use to make unsuspecting business owners think they are extraordinary. I can smell the bullshit a mile away. Because I value integrity, I am going to seize upon this opportunity to educate you, so you don’t fall for the BS and spend your money on services that will only leave you feeling cheated. If you’re a marketer, then you’ll appreciate learning about some alternatives to these tiresome tactics.
Four Bullshit Marketing Tactics That Bug Me
1.Authority Media Citations: What is that, you ask? It’s the “As seen on ABC, CBS, FOX News, NBC “ emblem that people put on their websites and LinkedIn profiles. Consultants often use this sleazy technique to make people believe they are a well reputed expert in their field. You can see these all over LinkedIn but you should know they were bought and paid for. They do not indicate that the person was interviewed by any of the major television networks. In fact, they likely would have no idea who this person is. The emblem is a deceptive tool that, in my opinion, indicates the user has a tremendous lack of integrity. There are all kinds of companies that sell this service and now that you know what it is, you know not to give much credence to it. Essentially, the owner of the emblem has paid for advertising or a media release on those sites through a service that facilitates that transaction. When you see someone with one of these on their profile, the needle on your bullshit meter should hit far into the red zone. Never do business with them. They are deceptive people.
2.Growth Hackers and SEO Wizards: These terms make my skin crawl. Essentially, these guys are a breed of digital marketers who try to make people believe they have a rare and practically unachievable skillset. What a load of crap. The truth is, anyone can learn these things if they want to and lots of people working in the digital marketing space are highly knowledgeable and capable of doing great work. If you run into someone who calls himself a Growth Hacker or an SEO Wizard, run for the hills. To me, those guys are the snake oil salesmen of digital marketing. Odds are they won’t want you to try to verify any of the work they are doing and will try to bamboozle you with tech speak. Marketers with integrity will be transparent in their communication with you and will be able to show you what they are working on and how it differs from month to month.
3.Free Webinars: These are usually filled with bullshit sales tactics and a whole slew of lies around telling a story about their failings and ultimate success. I wrote about it in a blog called, Building Trust in A Digital World. Sometimes you can get some useful information from them, but their purpose is to sell you something, so if you don’t want to be sold and emailed relentlessly, beware of the bullshit.
4.Connect and Close: I don’t know if I can call this bullshit marketing per se. Perhaps it is just plain stupid and lazy salesmanship. LinkedIn is a tremendously valuable sales and marketing tool because you have direct access to decision makers, rather than the social media managers who publish content on the other social platforms. You can send a direct message to the CEO of a company and get an answer the same day, but if you don’t do it right, you are blowing your opportunity. Sadly, the vast majority of people do it all wrong! Every single day, I get a message from someone selling me digital marketing services in one form or another (or a course, or coaching, etc.). Ugh! They connect and immediately send me a sales pitch. Sometimes they connect, try to engage me in a little mundane conversation and then send me a message asking me to collaborate with them. The problem is, that the term “collaboration” ends up being a euphemism for “buy my service”. Way to build trust! That’s the bullshit part. Using euphemisms like “collaboration” or “work together” as a way of sliding in your sales pitch is just plain bullshit.
Sincerity Sells, So Swap Your Bullshit Tactics for These!
1.Stop trying to look like something you’re not. Instead of trying to make yourself “look like” an expert whose opinion is valued in mainstream media, build credibility by creating meaningful content. This can be blogs, videos, courses or podcasts. Publish an article in a trade journal or newsletter that is relevant to your target audience. Editors are always looking for free content.
2.Lose the hyped-up terminology. Instead of calling yourself a hacker or a wizard, take the opportunity to educate your prospects and customers so they know how to identify quality professionals and quality work. Manage expectations and be transparent in your interactions with them. If you have to make yourself look big and fancy, then you are setting yourself up for failure. All business owners really want to know is how much money your digital marketing is going to produce for them and how long it will take to hit your targets.
3.Reconsider the value of your webinar. The more popular a particular marketing tactic, the less effective it becomes. Instead of a free webinar (because everybody is doing that these days), try offering a small, no risk solution or a free assessment. Use your imagination. Ask yourself what your customers really want and give them some of it. Open the door to conversation about what matters to them. Nothing speaks to your credibility like your personal touch and willingness to engage on a more intimate level. There’s nothing intimate about a pre-recorded webinar or a webinar with no real opportunity to engage with the speaker until after you’ve been hit by six or seven emails (and then maybe).
4.Quit rushing a sale. As for the alternative to deceptive communication and rushed sales pitches, try using straight forward, honest communication and taking the time to get to know your prospect. Speaking as someone who knows a thing or two about digital marketing and content creation, I find it bizarre how many digital marketers and content creators try to sell their services to me on LinkedIn. If they read my profile, they’d know I’m not a good prospect, but very single day, they hit me up for business. It’s clear they know absolutely nothing about my business or my expertise. It’s a pretty basic sales tactic to clearly identify your prospects and do your research before contacting, but almost nobody does it. Since it takes an average of seven touches to get a prospect to engage with you, you should also have a specific process in place to gain trust. Don’t just copy a form email telling about your product or service and send it to everyone you connect with. I know it’s less disheartening than a cold call, but it is just as useless. Nobody will buy from you if they don’t trust that you are honest, well qualified and interested in providing them with a valuable solution to an important problem.
Well, I hope you found this blog useful. Please feel free to share and comment!
Renée Cormier is a certified business coach and facilitator on a mission to show business owners how to easily get the most out of their marketing efforts and where to find money in their businesses. Renée will help you gain clarity about where your efforts should be placed and work with you to increase your profitability. She will also conduct a thorough marketing audit for you, show you how to refine your messages, and help you uncover the most effective marketing tactics for your business.
Contact Renée if you want to achieve growth in your business. Renée shares her business expertise through a variety of training and coaching programs that create unsurpassed value for her clientele. www.reneecormier.com