Those who have read my missives or attended my seminars, are aware I’ve been calling out the online zealots and their snake-oil since the invention of the information superhighway. So here’s today’s polite rant.
The internet and all it brings, is one of the most positive developments in the marketing industry. Yet the industry has been infested with dodgy, dishonest and downright diabolical deceivers, the likes of which have never been seen before.
Though it’s been quite comforting to have a number of industry heavyweights step into the fray these last couple of years and join the cause for honesty and integrity in digital marketing.
But something struck me recently. Given the public revelation about the major players in the digital media landscape, and their lack of ethics around privacy, data usage and the real number of users, something was missing. To recap:
- Facecrook – data dishonesty, deletion of almost 20% of all accounts as they were fake, lies about video viewership, the list goes on…
- Google – preferential treatment of advertisers in search results, placement of ads on fake accounts through programmatic channels…
- Instagram – fake accounts, fake followers, fake likes, fake comments, fake influencers…
- TripAdviser – fake reatsurant becomes number one eatery in London via fake reviews…
- Twitter – fake news, fake accounts, fake followers, minimal brand success…
And that’s just scratching the surface. I suggest Bob Hoffman’s book BadMen should be compulsory reading for all young graduates considering a career in marketing.
Despite all the overwhelming evidence about the lack of credibility in these channels and the ingrained dishonesty in the DNA of digital marketers, those who’ve arguably made the most money from naive punters – the alleged influencers and thought leaders – have been deathly silent in their condemnation.
To quote The Adventures of file clerk Ralph Mellish, “nothing happened“.
None have come forth to apologise for their false opinionations unsupported by facts. There has been no admittance of guilt by these cyber-hustlers who stole budgets from unsuspecting marketers and entrepreneurs.
Where is the mea culpa? Where is the “content marketing” repealing the dishonest deeds via blogs, newsletters, social posts and videos?
Have you heard any apologies? “ah sorry, the truth is out, I lied” or “yep, you caught me, I was a bandwagon jumper looking to make a fast buck“, or “sorry, I made fake claims, but hey there was too much money to be made on the back of your FOMO” or “don’t blame me, I believed Facecrook, after all it was online so it must be true.”
It seems the only marketers making noise about the problems are those who have always criticised the opinionators, then suffered the trolls and backlash for having the gall to do so.
So if you’ve subscribed to an alleged influencer’s “content” now is the time to unsubscribe. Stop listening to them, unless they apologise and share the honest facts with you. But don’t hold your breath.
Interestingly, I’ve noticed some are no longer sharing secret social sauce. Rather they’re discussing “purpose” (the latest way to make money from FOMO) or giving advice on management tips, or workplace wellbeing – anything but the digital baloney they’ve been hustling for the last few years.
The truth is, there is only one way to get rich online. It is to run a business telling suckers how to get rich online.
Otherwise the real way to get rich online, is to do what those who get rich offline always do. They make sure their marketing activity does at least one or all of the following – nothing else:
- Create new customers
- Get those customers spending more money with you more often
- Keep those customers spending money with you for as long as possible
It doesn’t matter what tactics or channels you use, as long as they are profitable. Many won’t be. You’ll have to test and learn. Nothing new here. And if you don’t invest in your brand, well that’s another story…
Ignore the fake influencers and lack-of-thought leaders – even call them out publically. Ask for your money back if you feel you’ve been taken for a ride. If they are legitimate they’ll return it to you.
Then remember this simple fact – technology changes, people don’t. Certainly not in the short life of new marketing channels. People buy emotionally and justify their purchase rationally – regardless of the media or shopping channels involved. Always have, always will.
Gotta go now, I’m downloading this super-awesome definitive guide by a technology company. It’s tells the 63 mind-blowing money-making social media headlines and content secrets, used by ninja unicorn mega-marketers to help you retire early as a thought-leading power Linkfluencer and best-selling author…