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Marketers: Are We Getting Dumb?

Good morning, you fellow marketers! Well, you do not have to give me that look, there is always a morning coming up somewhere (what a cheap cliche!)

Have you been online later? I suppose so... Was there nothing to bother you, on the thousands of sites dedicated to marketers, or at least claiming to contain marketing-related resources? Personally, I cannot stop being continuously distressed by a curious writing phenomenon: the enormous amount of articles with numbers included in their titles. Still do not know what am I talking about? Here are some dreadful examples: "5 Steps to Easy...", "20 Tips for Better...", X ? that, Y ? other, all of them promising either dramatically raise in your marketing audience, incredible sales boost, the perfect marketing plan, the greatest sales letter ever written, costless promo campaigns. The list can go on forever and keeps on amazing you of how easy a marketer's life would be if we just follow those "guidelines", "rules" and "tips".

Is that true? Have those writers discovered some sort of a simple wisdom that the rest of us are not yet aware of? Hardly possible... though this aspect is not striking people, otherwise why would we see so many pieces of unprofessional writing?

With that type of articles, writers bring a huge disservice to the professional marketing world. First, they promote the idea that "marketing" is a simple thing to do. Only if you are mentally retarded (no offence meant), you do not understand and cannot apply those easy simple rules, glorious pieces of advice. Take some time and look at the titles: almost all of them contain cheap pick-up words such as "easy", "simple", "tips", inducing the idea that the subject is available to anyone. No, it is not, and we must face it.

Second, a beginner entrepreneur seeking information on how to start / how to develop his business might reach the conclusion that marketing, sales, promotions, are fields that do not require a professional to handle them, it is sufficient for him to follow step by step the "great tips" he finds online at every corner. Why then we wonder when so many small businesses fall apart around us?

At last, students who are involved in any major related to marketing, they might fall into the trap of thinking theory and study is, well, not quite important. Any problem can be solved by applying some of the tricks the online world is full of, and here they are, no need of thinking, no need of developing a strategy... why did they register for expensive, time ? consuming universities in the first place?

You might say this sounds paranoid, and you would not be too wrong. The purpose of the above statements, with all their intended exaggeration, is to ring a bell.

Another issue is that of the audience and the purpose of the writings discussed here. Since they are published mostly on sites claiming to offer marketing resources for the professionals, we might assume this is the target audience. Still, it is very doubtful that true professionals would bother to read something entitled "Increase your sales ? 10 easy tips", unless some morbid curiosity or a weird sense of humor drives them on. Why? Because they know there is nothing new under the sun, those "tips" are just rewritten old principles, same content with a different cover. Taking a better look at the content of the "incriminating" works, one can recognize the principles taught in school, now extremely summarized and simplified, written in a very accessible language level, and in most of the cases presented as the authors' very piece of mind. Well, if the professionals are not the audience, then who is? Students? They are stuck with their bulky books trying to become the next Philip Kotler... Maybe business owners? No... they must have either hired someone or they got busy running the business themselves, unaware of the Z number of advices waiting to be read.

It means we return to the first assumption, that the number ? entitled articles address to the marketing professionals. And, hey, almost forgot to mention that the author is, in most cases, a "marketing guru" (I am terrified by this guru thing!) From this point, the real worries begin: since when the level of professionalism lowered so much? Are we losing our creative thinking? Can't we come up with something new anymore? Do we need those cheap works to have us promoted?

... Finally, are we getting dumb?

Otilia Otlacan is a young certified professional with expertise in e-Marketing and e-Business, currently working as independent consultant and e-publisher. She developed and teach her own online course in Principles of e-Marketing and is also a volunteer Economics teacher.

You can contact Otilia through her Marketing resources portal at Tea with an Edge of Marketing

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