Caveat Emptor Marketing

How to Tell When Marketing is Bad

The business of marketing must include advertising, which is often the largest part of the marketing function. Everyone knows that advertising is a hit-and-miss proposition with a number of variables to consider, e.g. weather (retail), placement (print media), timing and timeliness (all), etc …


The real problem with marketing (including advertising) is that there are now way too venues and choices. The interest has made it so easy for anyone to climb into this industry that consumers are hard-pressed to recognize the good guys from the insane number of pretenders and fast-buck artists.

The crux of the problem comes with the low-cost of entry that usually starts with a slick looking website. Too frequently, form is exalted over content. Add well-placed & timed advertising campaign of a new website and voila! Content may not even matter. Seriously, which would you choose: the pretty girl whose glamor shots are exceptional (but her credentials were absent or flawed) or the not-so-pretty one who had advanced degrees and experience ready to add value if selected?

Dilemma? Absolutely, for the average Joe who has great need without the luxury of time for due diligence.

For the professional with a reasonably heavy workload, it is easy to see why the judging-the-book-by-its-cover is a genuine trap. He may be used to mediocrity. But, now he’s found something he’s attracted to–and the pitch is perfect, i.e. choose me and I’ll give you exactly what you want!

And so the story goes. There is no ONE right firm or venue that is perfect or has all the answers. This is why they call it a Marketing Mix. Putting all the proverbial eggs into one basket (the largest share of your marketing/advertising budget) can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.


One must look behind the facade. More important than viewing a highly polished, great looking website is the track record and whether there would be REAL value added as selected.

Being cutting-edge and having the latest & greatest technology is meaningless without context. Sometimes if something looks too good, it is!  But you know that. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or a client-customer list. Be especially leery of newcomers feigning to be better than others–but they’re brand new. Read: untried, untested & unknown!

But, wait, there’s more! When they tell (sell) you that you’re getting an unbelievable deal, it’s time to squeeze your wallet. And, look at this sensational price being offered! Wow! But surely it won’t last, you MUST act now or miss out. Often, this is a smokescreen taking you away from objections you might have. Used car salesmen are in every industry.

Is there a money-back clause if you aren’t satisfied? If not, why not?

Oh, you can get a guarantee but that’s with our ‘regular’ pricing. This is the same great product/service but the price is shaved so much, they don’t offer givebacks. Besides, look at all you’re getting. Is this amazing, or what? (Pure BS)

About now, you expect the hard sell: look if this isn’t for you, let me know now. I’m sure your competition will understand how great this deal is. I just wanted you to have the first opportunity–since this is a limited-time offer. (The ole ‘takeaway in action.) I understand, you’re probably not a good candidate right now, so I’ll be back later–but you’ll have to pay full price.  And so it goes…

Don’t fall victim to sales pressure. Demand enough time to talk it over with your partner (even if he doesn’t exist). Do the obligatory Google search. Investigate the company and the product/service. If your search doesn’t yield much, try the same search only adding REVIEWS OF before the keywords. If they exist, you may get to see what others say. If nothing is found, pass on the deal…and smile remembering that (like in baseball) sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.  

Bottom Line for the question  “How to Tell when Marketing is Bad?”

Short Answer: Look for such things as:

♦   Rush due to [phantom] escalating price.
♦   No references and/or money-back guarantees.
♦   Phony call to office for permission.
♦   Super hype with dummy testimonials.
♦   No track record to verify, especially locally.

And, my final word of advice: CAVEAT EMPTOR!  |  JM

CAVEAT EMPTOR Marketing.  #6035.  This blog is written by members and monitored by our Executive Committee. It is intended exclusively for members or candidates-for-membership. Contents of all blogs and FAQ sessions are subject to change & correction and do not constitute community policy. The executed Community Marketing Agreement (CMA) determines prevailing policy & practices, as amended.  |  (C) Copyright 2004-2016; all rights reserved. Depicted graphics are the exclusive property of PM Community and all others belong to their respective owners or record.  (Special Note: infrequently, this blog may have a typo or grammatical error because our moderator was too busy {surely not incompetent!?!}) – 


Category: Non-Member Candidates