01 June 2008

Marketers: No One Believes You.

Christopher Penn, blogger and creator of the Financial Aid Podcast, has this to say on a recent post about why marketing sucks:

When companies, organizations, or individuals focus only on the short term, whether it’s quarterly results on the Street or whether you can get some action at the single’s bar tonight, the same desperation is created by short term thinking. That combined with a profit above all else mentality has turned marketing into the corporate equivalent of that guy in the bar who smells of equal parts aggression, fear, and desperation - and the target audience stays far, far away.

Yep. I can't tell you how much I cringe when someone says to me "we need to do some of that New Media" or "can you get us some marketing on the internet?" Yikes.

What's worse, Penn's point above makes me cringe even more because it echoes something more sinister.

If you're a marketer, no one believes you will use your superpowers for good rather than evil.

So how do you overcome?

Chris Brogan is a fun blogger to read, and he usually comes up with something that makes me think. His recent post talks about Personal Branding and how important and challenging it is. I think it's even more critical for those of us who purport to be in the business of helping others elevate, define, and create awarness for their brands.

I've blogged before about the fact that I believe that your brand is really created not by you, but by the people that use your product or service or seek you out in the vast online universe. Sure, we can contribute to the conversation about how we'd like to be perceived, but ultimately, someone else is going to make up their mind. If you haven't checked out the interesting Brand Tag site, it's interesting fodder for my point. If you look at the words that people choose, sure, some are super intuitive. But it's amazing how many of these "tags" are words that the companies might or might not have chosen for their brands in the first place, for better or for worse.

That didn't answer my question.

Ok, sorry. My point is that in order to really have people believe that there ARE marketing people out there (I'd like to think myself included) that are honestly, truly dedicated to the good side of this craft, we have to continue to bring people interesting, relevant, different, and compelling stuff and stories.

It's not enough to extoll the quality, value, and convenience of Bob's Buttered Biscuits, we have to dig deep, find the unique elements, and tell THOSE to people without shouting at them to pay attention. You can lead a horse to water, after all...

As a marketing person, I think it's my duty not to whore out any old product and polish turds, but rather to find the diamonds in the rough. The untold stories. The nifty, keen, funny, exciting, exhilirating ones. And to be honest, if someone or something doesn't have ANY of these qualities? Well, that's not a problem that any marketing person - no matter how much of a rockstar they are - can fix.

Are you in marketing? How do you avoid being cast as a deceitful, manipulating liar? Or do you?



6 comments:

buckeyebabe99 said...

By default, I am in marketing. I'm actually in E-business but they had no where else to put a hybrid sales and marketing channel so I'm stuck there. Worse yet, with those that aren't too sure of how to work with an online marketing channel.

I strive to be that person you're referring to everyday. The one that is constantly challenging senior executives and business line owners who want to "shove products down throats," as I call it. I try to wear my consumer hat at all times by providing options that are in their best interest while still obtaining business objectives.

It's a hard sell upwards most the time. I've been successful at doing so lately but not without stepping on a bunch of toes. No matter which way you spin the phrase "best interest of our customers," you're still looked upon as the gal that's constantly stirring the pot and not wearing the corporate hat.

Erin McMahon said...

Here comes the t-word: if an org. is transparent about what it is doing and why, it can't be accused of manipulation or deceit. If it has a quality product or service, then there should be no need to be manipulative or deceitful in the first place.

It's like a job interview. The whole reason you get asked about your weaknesses is to see how you handle the question. If you aren't capable of being honest about the simple fact that hey, you're human, then the interviewer has learned something important about you and knows how to read the rest of your answers.

Does this mean that we, as marketing professionals, should go around blabbing about everything that's wrong with our company or product? Of course not, but we shouldn't be afraid to address it either.

A person or business who can be honest with you about the not-so-positive stuff is the same person or business who you will be most inclined to believe when they start telling you the good stuff.

Jess said...

Its all about actions.

Put your brand behind things you believe in and stay away from those you don't.

I saw a great quote the other day referencing the famous New York Times Cartoon "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog" , "web 2.0 and social networking exposes dogs"

There are more than enough products or causes out there that can leverage a marketers authentic desire to help. Go find some, if you can't then create one.

We have the tools, the ideas and the wherewithal to make them happen, so take that step.

Great post.

Tracy Needham said...

One, I'm with you, you go the self-employed route and don't work for anybody and everybody. And when you work for yourself, that's a lot easier to do.

Two, I think it's about being honest with clients and prospects--even if it may be to your disadvantage in the short run. I had a mortgage broker flat out tell me once that he couldn't beat the rate my credit union had given me. But who was the first person I turned to when I wanted to refinance after I became self-employed? (And credit unions won't touch you with a 10 foot pole!)

So if a client doesn't need what they're asking for, or they would really be better off finding someone else with a particular kind of experience, I tell them.

And of course, that honesty extends to other areas in my life and business--so people just seem to expect that I will be straight and real with them.

Chris Z said...

Amber,

First-off, it's awesome that you've taken off on your own to do what you love by your own rules! I arrived at your blog after you commented on the same post I did at Chris Brogan's re: taking risk. I think your site looks great! I'd love to keep in touch to hear how things are going for you.

Regarding this post -- I think consumers have a reason to be skeptical of marketing claims. As an engineer by degree and son of a former science teacher, I've been influenced throughout life to look for rational explanations behind unbelievable situations.

However, it's easy to see with the attention (and $$$) given to unsubstantiated health claims for products like colon cleansers, for example, that consumers still aren't skeptical ENOUGH.

I routinely have to shake my head in dismay when walking through a store at the sight of endless empty, even misleading, marketing drivel printed on packages today.

I think if the general public knew the actual extent to which they were being mislead, they would be shocked (as I am every day).

Amber Naslund said...

Great comments, all. Thanks for stopping by.

Erin, you make a great point about the QUALITY of a product or service. That's why I say that great marketing will never save a lousy one. No matter how shiny and snappy.

Jess and Tracy, I have to say I agree here. I've limited myself somewhat by choosing a narrower market to serve, and by making sure my clients align with my values as a business and a marketing pro. I just don't think you can do a good job otherwise.

Chris, I'm so glad we've connected. And i'm with you. The amount of really bad, really misleading marketing and advertising out there is just amazing. Those of us who try to be The Good Guys can only strive to stand out from that crowd !

01 June 2008

Marketers: No One Believes You.

Christopher Penn, blogger and creator of the Financial Aid Podcast, has this to say on a recent post about why marketing sucks:

When companies, organizations, or individuals focus only on the short term, whether it’s quarterly results on the Street or whether you can get some action at the single’s bar tonight, the same desperation is created by short term thinking. That combined with a profit above all else mentality has turned marketing into the corporate equivalent of that guy in the bar who smells of equal parts aggression, fear, and desperation - and the target audience stays far, far away.

Yep. I can't tell you how much I cringe when someone says to me "we need to do some of that New Media" or "can you get us some marketing on the internet?" Yikes.

What's worse, Penn's point above makes me cringe even more because it echoes something more sinister.

If you're a marketer, no one believes you will use your superpowers for good rather than evil.

So how do you overcome?

Chris Brogan is a fun blogger to read, and he usually comes up with something that makes me think. His recent post talks about Personal Branding and how important and challenging it is. I think it's even more critical for those of us who purport to be in the business of helping others elevate, define, and create awarness for their brands.

I've blogged before about the fact that I believe that your brand is really created not by you, but by the people that use your product or service or seek you out in the vast online universe. Sure, we can contribute to the conversation about how we'd like to be perceived, but ultimately, someone else is going to make up their mind. If you haven't checked out the interesting Brand Tag site, it's interesting fodder for my point. If you look at the words that people choose, sure, some are super intuitive. But it's amazing how many of these "tags" are words that the companies might or might not have chosen for their brands in the first place, for better or for worse.

That didn't answer my question.

Ok, sorry. My point is that in order to really have people believe that there ARE marketing people out there (I'd like to think myself included) that are honestly, truly dedicated to the good side of this craft, we have to continue to bring people interesting, relevant, different, and compelling stuff and stories.

It's not enough to extoll the quality, value, and convenience of Bob's Buttered Biscuits, we have to dig deep, find the unique elements, and tell THOSE to people without shouting at them to pay attention. You can lead a horse to water, after all...

As a marketing person, I think it's my duty not to whore out any old product and polish turds, but rather to find the diamonds in the rough. The untold stories. The nifty, keen, funny, exciting, exhilirating ones. And to be honest, if someone or something doesn't have ANY of these qualities? Well, that's not a problem that any marketing person - no matter how much of a rockstar they are - can fix.

Are you in marketing? How do you avoid being cast as a deceitful, manipulating liar? Or do you?



6 comments:

buckeyebabe99 said...

By default, I am in marketing. I'm actually in E-business but they had no where else to put a hybrid sales and marketing channel so I'm stuck there. Worse yet, with those that aren't too sure of how to work with an online marketing channel.

I strive to be that person you're referring to everyday. The one that is constantly challenging senior executives and business line owners who want to "shove products down throats," as I call it. I try to wear my consumer hat at all times by providing options that are in their best interest while still obtaining business objectives.

It's a hard sell upwards most the time. I've been successful at doing so lately but not without stepping on a bunch of toes. No matter which way you spin the phrase "best interest of our customers," you're still looked upon as the gal that's constantly stirring the pot and not wearing the corporate hat.

Erin McMahon said...

Here comes the t-word: if an org. is transparent about what it is doing and why, it can't be accused of manipulation or deceit. If it has a quality product or service, then there should be no need to be manipulative or deceitful in the first place.

It's like a job interview. The whole reason you get asked about your weaknesses is to see how you handle the question. If you aren't capable of being honest about the simple fact that hey, you're human, then the interviewer has learned something important about you and knows how to read the rest of your answers.

Does this mean that we, as marketing professionals, should go around blabbing about everything that's wrong with our company or product? Of course not, but we shouldn't be afraid to address it either.

A person or business who can be honest with you about the not-so-positive stuff is the same person or business who you will be most inclined to believe when they start telling you the good stuff.

Jess said...

Its all about actions.

Put your brand behind things you believe in and stay away from those you don't.

I saw a great quote the other day referencing the famous New York Times Cartoon "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog" , "web 2.0 and social networking exposes dogs"

There are more than enough products or causes out there that can leverage a marketers authentic desire to help. Go find some, if you can't then create one.

We have the tools, the ideas and the wherewithal to make them happen, so take that step.

Great post.

Tracy Needham said...

One, I'm with you, you go the self-employed route and don't work for anybody and everybody. And when you work for yourself, that's a lot easier to do.

Two, I think it's about being honest with clients and prospects--even if it may be to your disadvantage in the short run. I had a mortgage broker flat out tell me once that he couldn't beat the rate my credit union had given me. But who was the first person I turned to when I wanted to refinance after I became self-employed? (And credit unions won't touch you with a 10 foot pole!)

So if a client doesn't need what they're asking for, or they would really be better off finding someone else with a particular kind of experience, I tell them.

And of course, that honesty extends to other areas in my life and business--so people just seem to expect that I will be straight and real with them.

Chris Z said...

Amber,

First-off, it's awesome that you've taken off on your own to do what you love by your own rules! I arrived at your blog after you commented on the same post I did at Chris Brogan's re: taking risk. I think your site looks great! I'd love to keep in touch to hear how things are going for you.

Regarding this post -- I think consumers have a reason to be skeptical of marketing claims. As an engineer by degree and son of a former science teacher, I've been influenced throughout life to look for rational explanations behind unbelievable situations.

However, it's easy to see with the attention (and $$$) given to unsubstantiated health claims for products like colon cleansers, for example, that consumers still aren't skeptical ENOUGH.

I routinely have to shake my head in dismay when walking through a store at the sight of endless empty, even misleading, marketing drivel printed on packages today.

I think if the general public knew the actual extent to which they were being mislead, they would be shocked (as I am every day).

Amber Naslund said...

Great comments, all. Thanks for stopping by.

Erin, you make a great point about the QUALITY of a product or service. That's why I say that great marketing will never save a lousy one. No matter how shiny and snappy.

Jess and Tracy, I have to say I agree here. I've limited myself somewhat by choosing a narrower market to serve, and by making sure my clients align with my values as a business and a marketing pro. I just don't think you can do a good job otherwise.

Chris, I'm so glad we've connected. And i'm with you. The amount of really bad, really misleading marketing and advertising out there is just amazing. Those of us who try to be The Good Guys can only strive to stand out from that crowd !

01 June 2008

Marketers: No One Believes You.

Christopher Penn, blogger and creator of the Financial Aid Podcast, has this to say on a recent post about why marketing sucks:

When companies, organizations, or individuals focus only on the short term, whether it’s quarterly results on the Street or whether you can get some action at the single’s bar tonight, the same desperation is created by short term thinking. That combined with a profit above all else mentality has turned marketing into the corporate equivalent of that guy in the bar who smells of equal parts aggression, fear, and desperation - and the target audience stays far, far away.

Yep. I can't tell you how much I cringe when someone says to me "we need to do some of that New Media" or "can you get us some marketing on the internet?" Yikes.

What's worse, Penn's point above makes me cringe even more because it echoes something more sinister.

If you're a marketer, no one believes you will use your superpowers for good rather than evil.

So how do you overcome?

Chris Brogan is a fun blogger to read, and he usually comes up with something that makes me think. His recent post talks about Personal Branding and how important and challenging it is. I think it's even more critical for those of us who purport to be in the business of helping others elevate, define, and create awarness for their brands.

I've blogged before about the fact that I believe that your brand is really created not by you, but by the people that use your product or service or seek you out in the vast online universe. Sure, we can contribute to the conversation about how we'd like to be perceived, but ultimately, someone else is going to make up their mind. If you haven't checked out the interesting Brand Tag site, it's interesting fodder for my point. If you look at the words that people choose, sure, some are super intuitive. But it's amazing how many of these "tags" are words that the companies might or might not have chosen for their brands in the first place, for better or for worse.

That didn't answer my question.

Ok, sorry. My point is that in order to really have people believe that there ARE marketing people out there (I'd like to think myself included) that are honestly, truly dedicated to the good side of this craft, we have to continue to bring people interesting, relevant, different, and compelling stuff and stories.

It's not enough to extoll the quality, value, and convenience of Bob's Buttered Biscuits, we have to dig deep, find the unique elements, and tell THOSE to people without shouting at them to pay attention. You can lead a horse to water, after all...

As a marketing person, I think it's my duty not to whore out any old product and polish turds, but rather to find the diamonds in the rough. The untold stories. The nifty, keen, funny, exciting, exhilirating ones. And to be honest, if someone or something doesn't have ANY of these qualities? Well, that's not a problem that any marketing person - no matter how much of a rockstar they are - can fix.

Are you in marketing? How do you avoid being cast as a deceitful, manipulating liar? Or do you?



6 comments:

buckeyebabe99 said...

By default, I am in marketing. I'm actually in E-business but they had no where else to put a hybrid sales and marketing channel so I'm stuck there. Worse yet, with those that aren't too sure of how to work with an online marketing channel.

I strive to be that person you're referring to everyday. The one that is constantly challenging senior executives and business line owners who want to "shove products down throats," as I call it. I try to wear my consumer hat at all times by providing options that are in their best interest while still obtaining business objectives.

It's a hard sell upwards most the time. I've been successful at doing so lately but not without stepping on a bunch of toes. No matter which way you spin the phrase "best interest of our customers," you're still looked upon as the gal that's constantly stirring the pot and not wearing the corporate hat.

Erin McMahon said...

Here comes the t-word: if an org. is transparent about what it is doing and why, it can't be accused of manipulation or deceit. If it has a quality product or service, then there should be no need to be manipulative or deceitful in the first place.

It's like a job interview. The whole reason you get asked about your weaknesses is to see how you handle the question. If you aren't capable of being honest about the simple fact that hey, you're human, then the interviewer has learned something important about you and knows how to read the rest of your answers.

Does this mean that we, as marketing professionals, should go around blabbing about everything that's wrong with our company or product? Of course not, but we shouldn't be afraid to address it either.

A person or business who can be honest with you about the not-so-positive stuff is the same person or business who you will be most inclined to believe when they start telling you the good stuff.

Jess said...

Its all about actions.

Put your brand behind things you believe in and stay away from those you don't.

I saw a great quote the other day referencing the famous New York Times Cartoon "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog" , "web 2.0 and social networking exposes dogs"

There are more than enough products or causes out there that can leverage a marketers authentic desire to help. Go find some, if you can't then create one.

We have the tools, the ideas and the wherewithal to make them happen, so take that step.

Great post.

Tracy Needham said...

One, I'm with you, you go the self-employed route and don't work for anybody and everybody. And when you work for yourself, that's a lot easier to do.

Two, I think it's about being honest with clients and prospects--even if it may be to your disadvantage in the short run. I had a mortgage broker flat out tell me once that he couldn't beat the rate my credit union had given me. But who was the first person I turned to when I wanted to refinance after I became self-employed? (And credit unions won't touch you with a 10 foot pole!)

So if a client doesn't need what they're asking for, or they would really be better off finding someone else with a particular kind of experience, I tell them.

And of course, that honesty extends to other areas in my life and business--so people just seem to expect that I will be straight and real with them.

Chris Z said...

Amber,

First-off, it's awesome that you've taken off on your own to do what you love by your own rules! I arrived at your blog after you commented on the same post I did at Chris Brogan's re: taking risk. I think your site looks great! I'd love to keep in touch to hear how things are going for you.

Regarding this post -- I think consumers have a reason to be skeptical of marketing claims. As an engineer by degree and son of a former science teacher, I've been influenced throughout life to look for rational explanations behind unbelievable situations.

However, it's easy to see with the attention (and $$$) given to unsubstantiated health claims for products like colon cleansers, for example, that consumers still aren't skeptical ENOUGH.

I routinely have to shake my head in dismay when walking through a store at the sight of endless empty, even misleading, marketing drivel printed on packages today.

I think if the general public knew the actual extent to which they were being mislead, they would be shocked (as I am every day).

Amber Naslund said...

Great comments, all. Thanks for stopping by.

Erin, you make a great point about the QUALITY of a product or service. That's why I say that great marketing will never save a lousy one. No matter how shiny and snappy.

Jess and Tracy, I have to say I agree here. I've limited myself somewhat by choosing a narrower market to serve, and by making sure my clients align with my values as a business and a marketing pro. I just don't think you can do a good job otherwise.

Chris, I'm so glad we've connected. And i'm with you. The amount of really bad, really misleading marketing and advertising out there is just amazing. Those of us who try to be The Good Guys can only strive to stand out from that crowd !