The Fantasy of Marketing Magic


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I was talking with a friend the other day about how the ease of use of the Internet seems to have replaced the need to work at marketing in some people’s minds.

For example, one fellow I know (and I’m quite sure he is not alone) has proudly built his own Web site – and is now expecting the hits and sales to come rolling in. For example, people who should know better (and we all know them) are assiduously posting Tweets, blogs, and discussions on LinkedIn – and are bemused by why prospects aren’t banging on their doors. For example, people are investing in SEO (a moving target given Google’s constantly revised algorithms) – and are waiting for their hits and revenues to rise. And on and on.

The marketplace just isn’t that accommodating.

There is no magic formula, medium, or technique that is going to replace the need for hard work, and consistent hard work, which underlies any market success.

Web sites are essential. Tweets, blogs, posts, and discussions can be (though aren’t necessarily) useful for building and enhancing a business. Knowing Google’s latest version of SEO rules matters (although not nearly as much as the SEO gurus insist).

But Web sites written from the perspective of what you want to say as opposed to what the prospect/customer wants to hear don’t engage people’s interest. And without interest, people don’t buy.

Tweets, blogs, posts, and discussions can certainly help with branding and name recognition. But branding and name recognition can have a down-side, too. Branding and name recognition which are not identified by your audience as value-added, which don’t make people want more, are less than useless. They are destructive, giving your on-line materials a “I think I’ll pass” reputation.

SEO for the sake of SEO, the number of hits and ranking, don’t necessarily increase revenues. What is your “bounce rate”? How many pages are people viewing? Are they asking for more info? Do they repeatedly come to your site? These things represent the beginning of a revenue stream.

In fact, the Internet and Social Media have made effective marketing both easier – and much more difficult.

Certainly, it is easier to reach a vastly increased audience, to reach across time zones and borders, to have an on-line 24/7 presence.

But it is much harder to get above the noise and clutter that pervades the Net. More importantly, it is much harder to keep someone’s attention after you’ve gotten them to notice you.

Customers and prospects are not dumb. They are harried and hurried. If you are not saying what they want to hear – and saying it fast, you’ve lost them. And with the wealth of choices in the marketplace and the wealth of information offerings on the Web, there is a good chance that once you’ve lost them, you’ve lost them for good.

So we are back to the fact that there is no replacement for serious thought and hard work, for a clear exposition of your product/service’s value and what benefit it brings. The medium is not the message. The message is the message.

Those who promise that a tool, a technique, a software package, or a new and sexy medium can solve your marketing dilemmas are more likely to enhance their revenues than yours. In fact, they are facilitating a fantasy of marketing magic.

Emily R. Coleman
Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc., a firm that specializes in helping companies expand their reach and revenues through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 500 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman's expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing operations and communications to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding.


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