Is Toxic Marketing Advice Poisoning Your Business?

Weird fact:

That gigantic chocolate bunny you just bought for Easter?
It’s death to your dog.
Chocolate contains a stimulant that can trigger seizures in dogs—and kill them if they eat enough of it.

This is more common than you’d think. Dogs also can’t handle sunburned tomatoes. Birds can eat berries that would send you to the emergency room.

What’s food for one species can kill another.

That’s true in marketing too.

Yesterday my coaching student Kathy stopped me in mid-sentence to ask a perceptive question:

“I’m looking at all the marketing advice out there, and I started wondering, ‘Does this stuff only work if you’re a marketer who’s selling to other marketers? Do marketers respond to marketing differently than my customers?'”

And I said, “Oh my goodness, yes.”

There are certain markets that are known to be hyper responsive.

Marketing is one. So is “biz-opp”—pre-packaged business opportunities. And weight loss. And “dating.”

In a hyper responsive niche, you’re often selling to an audience that desperately wants to believe everything you’re saying—which is the exact opposite situation that most business owners face.

The marketing niche has an additional factor thrown in, because marketers are afflicted with an unusual ailment: We actually LIKE to be marketed to.

And a lot of people have figured that out, so they build entire “businesses” on their success marketing marketing to marketers. (Got that?)

Plenty of copywriters have never written for a product outside of the white-hot “Internet marketing” niche.

Lots of social media consultants’ main experience is building a following of people who are really into social media.

Many of these so-called “experts” have never sold a real product in their lives, and their tactics are useless for a typical business.

It’s tough to figure out who to listen to, but here are some of the questions I ask when I encounter a new technique or tactic:

  • What markets has this “expert” worked in previously?

I want to see some versatility here. Do they work only in weightloss? Or have they also sold jet engines in a B2B market?

  • What markets or niches has this tactic been tested in?

This will weed out 90% of the case studies you see. SEOers demoing a hot new SEO tactic on their SEO site. Twitter gurus growing their own Twitter accounts. Etc. etc.

  • How do they define “success”?

Are they measuring “fuzzy metrics” like getting Facebook fans? Or are they actually using this approach to successfully make sales?

One final tip here:

The best filter for all the garbage out there is to find a handful of people who earn your trust over time.

Then look at where they get THEIR information.

That’ll spare your business from the ravages of more than a few “killer Easter bunnies.”