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Hal Licino

Online Marketing Is Pointless (Bad Advice from the Dark Side)

Sep 19 2011, 05:13 PM by

There seems to be no end to the online marketing gurus who never tire of spewing out the same tired rigmarole about how to succeed in online marketing by "valuing your customer" and "engaging them in bilateral conversation." As an old time marketer who was moving warehouses full of products when these gurus were still gazing at the mobiles over their cribs, you've forgotten more about marketing than they'll ever know. So these are the real top 7 reasons why the usual tips about online marketing are a crock:

1. Stop chatting and sell sell sell. The great illusion of the decade is that customers want to chat with you to get to know your company's values, ethics and trustworthiness. You can beat all of your holier than thou competitors by discounting your prices and leaving them in your dust. While they're "dazzling" their customers with "relevant" content, you're making the cash register ring. All the social media chatter in the world doesn't add up to one good deep discount or BOGO.

2. Give 'em hell. How dare they badmouth your company? Teach them a lesson they'll never forget and go toe to toe with your naysayers, matching them expletive by expletive. They're mostly 12 year old foul mouthed little latch key brats, and once you show them you're not putting up with their nonsense, they'll cry and run away.

3. Ignore the crisis management plan. Nobody really cares what's said about your company on the internet so even if the rumor starts spreading that your shoes are manufactured by handicapped children chained to Third World bamboo tables 18 hours a day, it will all get lost in the white noise. Don't pay any attention to these accusations and keep laughing all the way to the bank.

4. Blog shmog. When you go to buy drain cleaner you don't really care about the insights of some payola blogger on the aesthetic possibilities of creating art with the hairballs in your pipes. All you want to do is flush the nasty stuff away. Similarly, why does anyone really care to read 600 words on the completely irrelevant "paradigmatic synthesis and social impact" of your products? People buy them to use them, not to draft philosophical theses about them.

5. Microcontent is for microbrains. You're not a babysitter hand spooning pablum into your customer's mouths, you're an online marketer. So why try to compose subject lines and preheaders that are more suitable for a poetry competition? Your customers know what you're selling and when they see your From line they're going to open your email or they're not. All of the condensed pretty prose in the world is not going to make anyone open an email newsletter that they weren't going to in the first place.

6. Any color they want as long as it's web. There are over 2,000 different types of mobile devices out there and if you try to cater to all of their weird tiny display characteristics that can't be read with anything but a magnifying glass you're going to end up in the asylum. If some prospects are broke enough that all they can afford is a $79 smartphone and don't have a desktop or laptop computer to read your email newsletters properly, then they are nothing more than deadbeats who can't afford your products.

7. Don't waste time with brand monitoring and analytics. You need IBM's Watson just to analyze the whole mess of statistics, and all that will be spit out is gobbledygook since everybody knows social media participants are flighty larks with the attention span of a gnat. By the time you've analyzed the metrics from last week everything's changed already.

Most importantly remember: If they don't want to buy your stuff there's nothing you can do to make them, so it's all pointless.

(Also remember: this is a mirror universe set of tips… follow them and you'll be in bankruptcy court by the weekend!)

Posted in Tips & Resources

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