This Is Why You’re a Sh*tty Marketer

July 26, 2019
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    I’m a marketer. I am because I said so. It’s a pretty easy title to assume. Maybe it’s because I’ve built a few websites. Or created some commercials. I could just tell you about some logos I designed or tag-lines I’ve written.

    I’m a marketer, yo!

    I’d like to think my exclaiming about my title goes a little deeper. Part of which is it’s been my paid profession for decade or so. I have a portfolio I’m proud of and a company I co-founded that so far hasn’t failed.

    But the day is young, right?

    I worked with clients who give us money to do creative stuff. So we have a level of success. But there’s always something I come across with these clients.

    The company they JUST worked with.

    Sometimes it’s a friend or family member. It might be an established company who dropped some heavy buzzwords about digital media. It might be a recent grad with a framed degree in Marketing.

    Each time I hear about our new client’s experience working with them and I cringe a bit.

    How are these guys marketers?

    I know I make mistakes. I’m aware of the campaigns I’ve created that have failed or the ideas I chased that were just bad. No one is perfect, and as shocking as it is to hear, I’m not either. But I’ve used all those mistakes to learn, correct my mistakes, get super snobby and write a blog post about it.

    So, I called some of you shitty. That’s rather rude. It’s a bold accusation. How dare I judge you for your ad-forte! Let’s see some logistics here!

    Okay, here’s what you’re doing wrong as a marketer.

    1. Thinking You’re A One Man/Woman Marketing Team

    I’m a crappy networker. I have a hard time showing up to events with a pocket full of business cards in hopes of roping in a new client. It’s gross, it’s dirty and my segues into business talk generally just dives into how much I like happy hours.

    But often I hear about the one-man-shops. The person, who often has some sort of degree in some sort of marketing arena, that turned what should be a consulting job, into a full-on agency.

    Having photoshop doesn’t make you a designer. Owning a camera doesn’t make you a photographer. Having a degree in Marketing doesn’t make you a marketer. Especially in a day when the industry can change on a dime. Don’t think you can design, program and launch a successful website all by yourself. Understand that a campaign should have 15 or more eyes on it before it sees the light of day. Be able to trust that your ideas might not be the best one, and find other ideas to chew on.

    Never, ever work alone.

    If your goal is to make websites and logos for your friend, then, sure… do that. But if you want to be a legitimate player and battle with the big boys, surround yourself with people who are better than you and try to keep up.

    1. You Don’t Understand Social Media

    There’s no manual for social media. Just because the picture of you visiting Greece got 180 likes, you’re not a Greek God. Also, your client probably isn’t going to be migrating to the Mediterranean any time soon. For them, you need something special.

    Your client is unique and you have to learn to speak in their voice. You need to understand their audience and what they might be interested in. You need to learn how to interact with them and make the account sentient.

    Remember that 81% of people in the United States have a social media. Even my Mom has an Instagram account although I’m pretty sure she lost the password 3 years ago. Those on social media are some of the easiest people to reach.

    But here’s where you really suck. You don’t know how to create legitimate followers.

    There’s a shitty Real Estate company near me. I hate their name, I hate that once a month they call me claiming “someone wants to buy your house and we’d like to be your realtor” (Currently I rent an apartment downtown) and every month or so they add me on Instagram.

    But they don’t add just me. They do a mass-follower grab. They spend a few days adding everything they can find on Instagram that is deemed “people you should know”.  The first time they added me, I kindly followed them back. I’m courteous like that. Most accounts who follow me, unless I can clearly tell that the fake girl in the bikini isn’t really interested in me, I follow back.

    8 days later this Real Estate company unfollowed me. I knew this jam. Follow 2000 people. Get 300 follow backs, then unfollow everyone. Wash hands, repeat.

    A month later, they followed me again. Every other month now, they do it again.

    This happens not just with them, but several companies. Even marketing agencies who follow my company’s Instagram.

    What are they trying to do here? They are too cheap to buy customers, but too lazy to earn them. You will get discouraged when don’t have tons of followers right away, but that will change. Tricking followers does not accomplish anything. You won’t have any additional engagement. 50 earned followers will do a lot more good than 1000 followers who don’t give a crap about your client. Plus, when you get caught, it could ruin your reputation.

    If you’re one of those a-holes who does this. I hate you and I hope you die in a fire.

    1. You Spam the Ever-Living Crap Out of Everyone

    I sign up for a lot of services. I never, ever check the “subscribe to our newsletter” box. But sometimes it’s already checked and I just miss it. Then it happens, I’m getting daily emails from a company I honestly care nothing about.

    Okay, a monthly email. Sure, at least that reminds me that I have that service and I should either use again or cancel it. But daily?

    Seriously, DAILY EMAILS???

    What is the purpose? Am I so emotionally invested in their company that I need quotes from their SEO and what they deem to be market trends about their field? I really do. I delete them from my phone until the one time I’m on my laptop and I can go through the unsubscribe process.

    Listen, emails work. Currently they yield the highest ROI of any other paid marketing campaign. Of course, that’s because the cost of email marketing is so low.

    But it’s also low because it’s abused by the dickheads I listed above.

    You can still have a successful email marketing campaign. You just need to be smart about it. You need to construct smart subject lines. Information, promotions, sharable content. Also remember that your emails are optimized for mobile devices. Well over half of users access their emails from a mobile device.

    And if you’re spamming people who didn’t sign up for your newsletter, there’s a special place in hell for you.

    1. You Don’t Understand or Care About Your Client

    Last week we had a new business meeting. We were pretty excited about it because we knew they had mass opportunity for guerrilla marketing fun. As we talked and shared a few ideas, the client sat up a little taller and smiled a little more. They then expressed the last agency they talked to tried to sell them on Geo-fencing. That was it, Geo-fencing. This was probably because the last client they talked to liked Geo-fencing, and the one before that too. They are probably amazing at Geo-fencing. If someday Geo-fencing became an Olympic event, they’d get a silver. I only say that because the Russian judges would only give them a 7.

    But what they aren’t good at is understanding the client. There was so much more they could do and at far less costs. Things that would spruce up their portfolio and build a buzz for this new business.

    They didn’t take the time to learn about the client and build a specific campaign. Instead they pulled out a cookie cutter campaign and tried to fit them in it.

    Every client is different. I feel like a dirty marketing blog saying that. That was gross marketing speak. But it couldn’t be more true. If you don’t take time to REALLY understand a client, they won’t be a client for very long.

    You’ll be on the wrong side of the Geo-fence.

    For my final rant

         5. Don’t Be Afraid to Do Stuff for Your Portfolio, Don’t Be Afraid to Do Things No One Will Ever See

    I’ll keep this short. Sometimes you need to do things at a super cut rate, or even for free, because it will look nice when you show it off. Build a website for someone cool and retain most of the creative control because it’s for free.

    Occasionally take on something boring, even at a cut rate. You’ll be surprised how much you learn from it.

    Plus, work is work. Remember that. Still give it everything you have. But… work is work and creativity is a muscle we need to exercise daily.

    But if you’re a shitty marketer… do you even lift, bro?

    I’m still a shitty marketer from time to time. But every day I get a little better. I learn from my mistakes and I listen to others. That’s more valuable than a degree in marketing or owning a pirated copy of Photoshop.

    And though I haven’t been to Greece yet, when I do, I’m posting a pic of me in a Speedo.

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