Maybe that comes from years of being slapped down and undervalued by geeky CEOs and founders who still think, "If we design it, they will come." But that's really no excuse. I don't care how beaten down you are, you need to grow a pair and show them what you're made of, not take the easy way out.
Okay, so maybe I'm being a little too hard on marketers. Nah! I spent far too many years rewriting generic press releases and crappy ad copy when I paid good money expecting something I could actually use. And don't even get me started on marketers who think product specs are the same thing as customer benefits.
Well, I'm still going to my grave believing that marketing is a noble profession, come hell or high water. And I've got a new tactic that just might work: shame inept marketers into submission by exposing their Top 10 Stupid Lazy Marketing Tricks.
Sure, I know it's ironic that this has to come from me, a former marketing executive. It's sad, really. But hey, better hearing it from me than reading it on a pink slip, right? Right.
- Generic, overused taglines. Delivered. Performance You Can Depend On. Done. Solved. Consider it Solved. I can go on and on. What a waste of money.
- You say: "differentiate, rise above the noise;" they hear "over the top, lunatic fringe." If you've never seen Carly Fiorina's Demon Sheep senate campaign ad, check it out, you'll see what I mean. Rising above the noise requires innovation and creativity; you don't get there just by turning up the volume.
- Forgetting there are other countries on planet Earth than America. Half their sales can be international, it doesn't matter. They routinely plan these elaborate launch events in the U.S. and leave the rest of the world completely out of the picture. I've known international execs who literally found out about their own new products from their customers.
- Ad execs who value their opinion more than their customer's. Once, when I tried to explain to an ad exec that there were probably 100 ways to do this but I didn't like the one he was trying to shove down my throat, he essentially told me I just didn't get it. Well, he didn't get the business.
- Generic garbage in press releases. Like the executive quote that inevitably starts with "I'm pleased to ..." Seriously, get on any company's website, check out their press releases, and tell me that at least a quarter of them don't include generic quotes that start with that. Drives me nuts.
- Product marketers in love with specs and features. They just don't get the whole "customer benefit" / "value proposition" thing. To them, everything's faster, smaller, lighter, more powerful, thinner, smarter, brighter, and, my favorite, more reliable. Sheesh. Try selling "more reliable" to a customer!
- Anything with grammatical or composition errors. Especially copy that doesn't make sense because it's clearly been cut-and-pasted.
- Marketers who think a press release constitutes a product launch. That's right, there are real marketing executives in big companies who think that all they have to do to launch a product is a press release. Release is out on the wire, that's it, job done, case closed.
- The "show them three ad concepts" trick. Advertisers actually use this to limit the number of concepts they have to do. They show you three: the first one's okay, the second one is the one they want you to pick, and the third one sucks so you inevitably fall back on the second one.
- And last but not least, the coup de grace: Some genius executive with crap for brains plucks an engineer or somebody who does god-knows-what for a living out of his cubicle and tells him he's the next marketing guy. Happens all the time.