First off, let me state that I love marketing. I am a student of it. I eat, sleep and breathe marketing.
What I hate is people/brands who use marketing tactics to take advantage of others in order to simply make money. That is unforgivable. And that what I am going to share with you today.
I was recently at an event called New Media Expo. One of the keynote speakers took his allotted time to hard sell his services. One of the comments that came across social media really summed up how I feel about this. It was:
“Emotional intelligence is great until it is used as a weapon to persuade people to buy something”. I am paraphrasing a little but it sums it all up for me.
Happy New Year!
This is the very first blog post of 2014. This year I plan to take this blog from good to totally rock your world amazing. I am very serious about this.
I’ve been so bent on this that I’ve given myself a huge case of writers block as a result. I’ll be bringing Dr. Dino Dogan on an upcoming podcast to talk about the writers block and help me snap through it. So stay tuned for that.
Making An Urgent Case For Blogging
In the very next blog post I will make the case for having your own self-hosted blog. (Self-hosted means it is your own domain on your own hosting account). I believe this is the single most important asset that any business can have online. And I believe businesses that do not do it this year will be about as findable to their prospects online as Big Foot.
This blog post was actually supposed to be about making the case for blogging. But then I added a little disclaimer. The disclaimer is that I am not making this statement about blogging to sell people my own products and services. Well that little disclaimer turned into a long rant about some of what I hate about marketing. So I turned it into its own blog post.
Many people who create content or talk about something, use their platform to persuasively and strategically mislead people into buying what it is they are selling. Now, I am not at all saying as a business you shouldn’t be selling your services or your product in your content. At the end of the day monetizing your online efforts is what it is all about.
But there is a huge difference between creating a case for your business and selling snake oil. I intend to call some practices out here so you can be both sensitive to this as a content marketer and a consumer.
I feel the best way to sell a product or service through content is to be helpful. Over selling is the death of good content. People do business with those they know, like and trust. So selling you and what you stand for through content in a way that is real and honest is where the real magic happens.
Why I Am Writing This
My company is a digital marketing agency. We do a lot of different things from creating websites to managing social media, running ad campaigns, re-targeting, mobile app development to name a few things.
I am not telling you this to sell you anything. The mission of this blog is to provide do it yourself information you can use without paying a dime.
I tell you this so you understand I don’t have a dog in the hunt. I want you to feel confident that when I make a statement about what a business should or should not do, there is no hidden sales agenda. I am not telling you a blog is more important than any other online asset, like a Facebook page for example, because I want to sell you a blog. I am telling you this because it’s just plain true. And I will explain why that is true in the next blog post tomorrow.
A Little History
When I ran a martial arts school (while Mark Zuckerberg was still in High School), I had to hold my nose and buy Yellow Pages ads. It was where customers came from. But it was the only choice. There was no replacement for the Yellow Pages. And they knew it.
I paid a ridiculous amount of money to them every month for the right to have a small ad buried amongst my competition whom they also sold ads to. They would shake my hand, smile and tell me how much they cared. Then they’d run up the road to my closest competitor and tell them I just bought a quarter page ad and invite them to buy a bigger one so they come first. Yuck.
Many of those who sold Yellow Pages, newspaper, coupon mailers and those types of media were not marketing people. They were sales people. And many-certainly not all. There were some good ones-in my own experience, were slick and slimy. Only concerned with the next dollar in their pocket.
Because these folks were managing my ads yet knew nothing about marketing and really didn’t care about my success, I began a process of learning to do it myself. I devoured every book and training on marketing I could get my hands on. I have one bookshelf with nothing but marketing books. I studied under one of the world’s best direct response copywriters. I learned to craft my own marketing. And I got good at it.
With the internet came new ways to leverage my marketing message. I jumped into it with both feet.
Many of the sales guys from the old school print slithered their way into the world of online marketing, (along with a few used car salesman and maybe a handful of door to door vacuum cleaner salesman too). They still don’t know how to help a business market. But they sure do know how to sell their wares. And they use the same disgusting tactics of making you think what they have is the holy grail and everything else doesn’t work.
A Local Slime Bag Slithers
I have a guy who is local to me… let’s say within the tri-state area which for me is Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. He is a sales guy for a company that does Facebook page management for businesses. I once met him at a networking event and was turned off within twenty seconds of him opening his mouth.
He made a positioning statement. This is where you say something that makes you look like the expert while simultaneously putting the other marketer down. It was very subtle but also obvious. Old school, lousy behavior that is not just relegated to my own niche. There are one of those, (at least), in every niche.
He certainly didn’t think about the fact that perhaps I could be a referral source to him. All he cared about was being the guy to make the sale.
He Opened His Mouth Again
Just yesterday I watched this same guy talk about why it is more important to have a Facebook page than even a website. Now first of all, that statement is demonstrably WRONG. It is also stupid and misguided and puts the customer at great risk should they actually take his horrible sales pitch disguised as advice.
I will remind you that this guy works for a company that does nothing other than Facebook. If he was selling websites he’d be saying the same thing in reverse. Whatever he is selling, the other thing will be bad and not needed. He’s a sales guy through and through and has no marketing experience or results to back up this profoundly and wildly dangerous claims.
I certainly do not fault people for selling what they have to sell and for believing in what they do. What I do hate with a passion is:
- When the sales person purposefully confuses the prospect
- When they go too far with the us v.s them strategy making it sound like their offering is the only thing that will work. Like stop all your other marketing efforts and give all your money to me… you’ll be fine…
- When the sales rep is not concerned with the outcome they are selling
- When they are a lying liar telling you things that are completely wrong as in my example above.
These burn me up. Like the case with my friend who sells Facebook services. More power to him, Facebook is an important platform to be on. But telling someone they need one over a web page… that is just wrong, it is misguided, it is selfish and it is very dangerous to the business being sold to.
The Bottom Line
I wrote this for two important reasons:
1: To make sure you know I have zero vested interest in the statements I make. I want anyone to feel confident that the advice here is not based on something I am trying to sell you.
2: So you take every marketer, (including me), with a grain of salt. Question everything. Do your homework and vet what you’re being told. Marketing dollars can help take your business to the next level. But wasting them can only hurt you.
I didn’t expect this rant to turn into a blog post of its own but felt it was necessary to set up tomorrow’s post which is a pretty bold statement. I hope at this point you feel confident when I tell you a blog is the most important online marketing asset you can have, you know it isn’t because I am trying to sell you a blog. See you tomorrow…
How About You?
Have you ever had sleazy sales guy experience? Leave it in the comments below.