Why we hate marketing gurus

Most people have a marketing guru. Many of us have a favourite commentator on management or business studies.

And what I often find is that if you talk to people after they have finished reading a new item by their hero, they will say something like: “Brilliant, but…..” and then sigh. Why the disappointment? Why the annoyance?

Here’s what I mean. One of the most popular people around today is Keith Ferrazzi, and deservedly so. His latest 2 minute presentation showed people how not to be a “twitter idiot”. 5 innocuous tips.

And that’s the point. They are very simple and obvious. In a nutshell, he calls on people to provide generous help, but not to lecture. Rule numero uno of networking. Surely, we all know that and do that. But, Keith is correct. We forget and we do not. Cringe time!

Canadian Karl Bryan is in a similar field. In a recent post, he observed how all of us occasionally have to write copy to promote a project, but often we come unstuck just on the structure of the text. His five stages of approach to such an assignment are:

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

So why does the word “obvious” leap back in my head? Why don’t I (we) follow these basic procedures all the time? Ouch, how these people annoy me.

So, like it or not, we seek these gurus and their frustratingly simple mailings. And who needs them? All of us, whether you are a start up who requires guidance or a multinational with vast internal resources. We all forget the obvious, but should realise it takes an outsider to drag us back into line.

Let me close with two brief anecdotes to illustrate the point. Last week, I took my family cross country jeep riding. Unfortunately, there was a mistake with the booking and my wife was upset. The matter was sorted out and we had a good time.

Still, no compensation was suggested. Further, we later found out that there were also family discounts, which were never offered. So, we paid full price for a nice day, having been offended. Guess who will not back be going back there? And guess which salesperson has not realised the mistake in the big picture? Sad.

 A musician, Dave Carroll, had difficulty with United Airlines.  United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight.  Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages.  During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for youtube exposing their lack of cooperation.  The Manager responded : “Good luck with that one, pal”.

The video has since received over 5.5 million hits.  United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his response was: “Good luck with that one, pal”.

Taylor Guitars sent the musician 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video that has lead to a sharp increase in orders. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&NR=1

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3 Comments on “Why we hate marketing gurus”

  1. Cinamonapple Says:

    Well this is fascinating world no doubt. I found this post fascinating and inspiring one. Glad more think that tweeting has more then marketing. If you want to reach out to humans , you need to talk to them like human not like a “Golam”. Well done i will spread the post. Thanks for sphering.

    Very good day to you Tweeter Pal.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by michaelhoresh and stylelistroom, stylelistroom. stylelistroom said: RT @michaelhoresh: Fun anecdotes why we need marketing gurus: https://michaelhoresh.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/why-we-hate-marketing-gurus/ […]

    • Karl Bryan Says:

      Thanks for the mention on the article Michael – appreciated. I equate copywriting, or marketing for that matter, to sport… you practice so that in the game you do not need to think, correct action, comes naturally.


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