Commentary

Minor Marketing Ailments: Stuff We Should All Stop Doing

We are 18 days into the new year. How are your New Year’s resolutions going? I was in the gym this morning, and it was not very busy. Seeing as it is not yet too late, let me offer you some professional alternatives you could easily adhere to, and by doing so make your and everybody’s professional lives better.

Whitepaper whiplash

Dear marketing platforms, tech solutions and researchers: Please think twice about publishing a whitepaper or ebooks. I think most of them are an absolute waste of your time to produce, since most will reach an audience of no one.

OK, that may be a bit harsh. But let’s be honest: When was the last time you received and actually read a useful whitepaper from anyone?

Please tally the number of emails that offer you whitepapers. Next calculate your ratio of receiving these offers vs. actually downloading AND reading? Mine is 17 offers, 2 downloads, 0 satisfaction for the first 17 days of the year (the two I did download were complete duds that were glorified ads and offered no useful data points or insights whatsoever).

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And while we are at it, I equally detest the cheery templated follow-up email: “Hey Maarten, thanks for downloading our whitepaper. Can we coordinate some time to chat about implementing [insert business here] some time this week?”

Template tantrum

“Click to receive our success-guaranteed template to create your own, professional looking word clouds or infographics.” Or worse: “our free templates to create your own social media placements” (insert cat photo here, insert clickbait headline here, etc.). As with the whitepapers, most if not all of these templates are missing the mark. They are way too simplistic, generic and (mostly) awful looking for any brand or company to use. And if you are hustling these types of solutions to small and mid-sized companies, then why are you targeting the likes of me?

Analytics abhorrence

“Free analytics! Send us your social media handles and we will provide you with a free analysis of how bad you are doing and how much we can improve your likes, shares, clicks, fans and followers.”  First of all: What the hell? Why do I need to give you my handles when a simple Google search would have given you all my public handles to begin with? And then some of those yoyos ask me to share my secure details for any of my business platforms. I am sorry, but unless I get hit by lightning or fall on my head today and lose my marbles, I will not send you anything, thank you very much.

Qualified leads quandary

If you think that reaching me with any of the offers listed above is a showcase of your lead-generation awesomeness, think again. In my book, you have just proven the exact opposite of your abilities (mouse moves to delete; click; gone!).

I hear you thinking that if none of these approaches actually work, then why are they still being used? Because sending templates, whitepapers and other supposedly free stuff to make your business better is lazy template marketing in its own right.
It is offered by platforms and agencies that survive on volume. They are only interested in drive-by marketing. They are not in it to foster long-lasting relationship, but only interested in the sell.

Sorry if I insulted you if you’re one of these folks. Just prove me wrong.

4 comments about "Minor Marketing Ailments: Stuff We Should All Stop Doing".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit, January 18, 2016 at 11:17 a.m.

    Great idea.
    But I think we have a "comons problem" or perhaps a "prisoner's dilemma"  In any case, eitehr these tactics are working, or the marketers are under the impression that they are working.  So, changing the behavior of a marketer when he or she thinks that there is even a small chance performance or lead flow will suffer is a tough sell.  Even at the VP and CMO level there may not the the intestinal fortitude to adapt.
    We have a similar problem with publishers increasing ad load and dropping their mimimum programmatic bid floors. They need the revenue, but crap ads and malware are served and so they teach readers to install ad blockers.
    Let's hope a bunch of marketers take your advice. 

  2. Marcelo Salup from Iffective LLC, January 18, 2016 at 11:51 a.m.

    I wish I had something witty, contrarian, yet intellectual to say against your points. But I don't. I love it.

  3. Greg Alvarez from iMeil, January 18, 2016 at 3:39 p.m.

    I too receive a lot of these messages/offers.

    Your's is 17/2/0... mine is 25/0/0. Haven't downloaded a whitepaper since 18 months ago, but frankly can't remember the exact time or PDF I downloaed.

    What you where missing is this: "They send you a message to alert you about a new study, report or whitepaper, using your name and data... but when you go to their website to download the document, WTF?, they request you fill a form with the very same data they already have before downloading it" (I think I hate these companies most, be it Marketo, Adobe, IBM, Silverpop... you name it).

    Oh, and don't forget those sites where you are only a "non-paid user" and they send you, repeatedly, invitations to download a new report, study or whitepaper... just to arrive to the download page and find "it's only for paid members" (Just to be clear, these are not "micro companies" or SMBs, they are those behemoths that claim their solutions are the best for any industry).

    Despite the wrong way these "campaigns" are developed, and how hateful they turn from our own perspective, I don't think it good manners to make a public post to show your resentment about anything you don't agree with.

    There is a famous campaign "Before you hit someone or make a wrong decision... think to 10"

  4. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing replied, January 19, 2016 at 9:52 a.m.

    Today's "Marketers" do these stupid things because they don't have viable ways to communicate their products or services.  The Internet is "free" -- or so they think. 

    Time is money and the time they spend in fruitless emailing is a waste of everyone's time (money).

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