Today, I conducted a small experiment on two social media channels – Facebook and Instagram. I simply scrolled for a couple of minutes on each, capturing screen shots of the advertisements posted in my feed.
I work in and teach marketing, do research on marketing stuff and speak about marketing near my smartphone, so the advertisements in my feed are mostly about marketing services or similar – sad but true. As you know dear reader, both these social channels are owned by the same organisation, so a number of advertisements appeared in both channels.
If ever there was irrefutable evidence of the destruction of marketing industry’s credibility, you need look no further than what appears in my feed. The advertisements are brought to me by those who come from the digital school that preaches “How to get rich online, by telling others how to get rich online“. There were so many, this story could be a three-part series.
Here is but a small sample:
This fake marketer is using a paid advertisement (excuse my tautology) to con suckers that they don’t need to pay for advertising to land clients. I suppose he is also a fisherman, hence the use of ‘land’, instead of ‘acquire’ or “get new”? It seems he’s out of his mind – and it definitely needs changing. Please leave the industry now.
Here’s another one. An advertisement on Instagram claiming you can sell products on Instagram without ads. And not only do you not need ads, you don’t need an audience to sell to or any marketing experience. Making money requires no skills apart from, well, nothing but replying to this ad. Mind you, this ad costs the advertiser money to advertise their message about how to make money without spending money. Bloody hell.
Do they really believe people are completely stupid? Or maybe they are happy with stupid customers, or random monkeys tapping keyboards, given their criteria for customers? Please leave the industry.
Jeff Bezos once famously said “Advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service.” and yet Amazon is now the world’s largest advertiser ($11Billion PA) shunting P&G into second place.
A brand automation tool – amazing stuff. Just press a button and brands are automatically created? Does Coca Cola just hit the Brand Automation Button and go to lunch because the brand is now somehow automated and generating a profitable ROI? What does this headline mean? At least the subheading says “Join the Brand Automation revolution” not “Join the Brand Automation conversation”. But seriously folks – they want marketers to believe their brands can be automated – this defies all logic and demonstrates it was written by a digital typist not a copywriter. Leave the industry now.
Read this headline aloud – “The 2.0 100 viral content templates“. And they trademarked them!
I suppose if you’re selling templates you want those template messages to go viral, as by definition, you’ll sell more. But selling templates is a limited market and as most marketers know, there is very little linkage between “going viral” and sales. Most of what “goes viral” is simply chewing gum for the brain, with very little engagement or commerce involved in the process.
And usually it’s the content within the message that is the reason the message “goes viral” – if the template was the reason for virality, then every social media advertisement would “go viral”. That’s because all social media advertising is produced in a template – including this one. Advertisers are restricted to the same size image space, same character count and same location for the text and images.
This has created the unconscious habit known as banner blocking as the design of the advertisement signals to the viewer “this is an ad” so viewers unconsciously ignore them.
If I believe this “advertisement in a template” all I need to do is put content in one of the templates and it will “go viral” – whatever that means. So just dump a bunch of lorum ipsum into a template and sit back to witness the virality and the money appearing in my bank account?
Personally I’d rather know what type of content to put into a template to make it go viral – and I suspect this “advertisement in a template” has yet to reach pandemic-spread levels. Leave the industry now.
I have no idea why you would post such a distorted image, let alone lead with an irrelevant headline that doesn’t relate to the image. Readers expect headlines and images to relate to each other. The reason is simple – it’s how we’re taught to read.
For example, a picture of a dog, with the word ‘dog’ underneath it. A picture of a cat with the word ‘cat’ underneath it. It’s in our DNA to look at an image and link the caption or headline. But this advertisement does nothing of the sort.
Then the dead giveaways appear confirming this was written by a cyber-hustler. The first giveaway is the Use Of Capitals To Start Every Word In The Headline. The next is the use of the jargoniser to add buzzwords for alleged credibility – in this case it’s the buzzword hack – as if a hack is something special, for no other reason than it’s called a hack.
The other is the zero cost to do do something ‘secret’ that those who make $Billions don’t want you to know. It’s always $0 and only available through this special member of the “priesthood of marketing secrets” who out of sheer generosity wants to share it with you.
But there is a catch – you have to pay for the new $0 marketing hack if you want to use it. Please, please leave the industry now.
Once again, the first giveaway (Use Of Capitals To Start Every Word In The Headline) shows itself immediately. The ‘&’ is also a giveaway. I find this fascinating. How come no legitimate expert in the world of B2B sales and marketing has every written or run a training course on how to do what you are paid to do as a B2B salesperson – get some sales?
The sales training category must be bereft of education materials, so thank goodness for Hubspot – which I believe has one of the largest outbound telemarketing departments in the world of software marketing. Sorry, I meant to say “martech” – forgot to use the jargoniser. The company uses telemarketing to sell software that is supposed to automate the selling process, so you don’t need telemarketing – go figure.
For those who don’t know, Hubspot was made famous in Dan Lyon’s hilarious book Disrupted – Ludicrous misadventures in the tech start-up bubble. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the best book about Silicon Valley,” takes readers inside the maddening world of fad-chasing venture capitalists, sales bros, social climbers, and sociopaths at today’s tech startups. It’s a great read by the way.
And the hilarity is real. This advertisement uses the jargoniser to create a TLA for ABM. That’s a Three-Letter Acronym for Account-Based Marketing. Back in the dark ages of mid-last century, the term Account-Based Marketing or Account-Based Selling was invented. It was used to sell mainframe computers and other office and industrial equipment to major organisations and government. The sales teams were divided by market segment, or account type. For example, government or education.
So why use a jargoniser or TLAs to allege special skills are required for a business process that is about 70 years old? If you believe you need to reinvent the name of a process that has hardly ever changed – people selling to companies, assisted in some way by technology – then please leave the industry now.
Analogue tactics rule
The really interesting thing about the cyber-hustlers is how so many of them want you to buy or download a book to discover their secrets. That’s right folks – that old-fashioned analogue thing called a book. You can buy one and have it printed by a publisher and mailed to you, or you can download it and print it yourself.
Curiously, most downloaded books never get read online and even less are printed and read. The sheer act of downloading the book satisfies the respondent they are doing the right thing, then life gets in the way. Because the book isn’t physically sitting in front of them waiting to be read, the downloaded version gets ignored. But some SaaS expert will attribute value to your download and tick-off an achieved task on their KPIs.
The first 20 years of the 21st century are sadly being remembered as the decades that the cyber-hustlers and fake marketers destroyed any semblance of respect for the marketing industry. Even sadder is the glib acceptance of them by the industry. Why are we so intellectually and morally lazy?
After all, if Twitter will put fact-checking messages on Trump’s Tweets and Facecrook will remove fake content, why don’t these platforms protect us from fake marketers?
Have to go now, I’ve been asked by a young digital marketer for advice on how to become a thought leader without any expertise – now there’s an idea for a book…