So here’s the money question really. Have we gotten more stupider or has social media just made it seem so?
I think it’s the latter. People, and by that I mean me too, have always done silly things in the name of marketing, but now they do silly things, get caught and are subject to global public humiliation at the hands of YouTubers and Twits.
One person who has dedicated some portion of his life to cataloging many a really bad idea gone worse is Scott Stratten.
Stratten is my guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. He is the founder of the Toronto based firm Unmarketing and author of the book by the same name. Scott and I chatted about his most recent book – QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground.
Stratten spends most of his time these days presenting his findings before audiences of marketers and social media addicts. His presentations come off more like stand up comedy than your traditional business presentation although the message is real and useful. He blends is personal ability to add humor to material you really couldn’t make up even if you tried.
In QR Codes Stratten highlights how many businesses get online marketing so very wrong, mostly by trying to do something that no one, not even the perpetrator’s mother, would approve of.
I think that’s the greatest lesson contained in studying how people abuse marketing. Much of what works and what does not work is common sense, good manners and reasonable taste. Where people often cross out of bounds is when they forget that any form of marketing must be useful in some way for the customer or prospect or it will miss the mark.
Your marketing must inform, provide insight, entertain and educate. It must not boast, criticize, self-congratulate, shout or kill kittens.
It’s not really that hard, although sometimes we make it seem so.
Reader note: Get Scott’s book and prepare to laugh out loud while being reminded just how fragile our seemingly good marketing ideas might be. I read a lot of books on my Kindle but this is one I would suggest you invest in the paper.