The bromarketing has to stop

Broscience

Broscience – Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders + weightlifters. Generally spouted most by guys who have used loads of steroids and are huge, have no idea what is happening to their bodies and then share that same cluelessness with others who make the false assumption that their experience means that they have knowledge.

Watch who you listen to. Seriously. They are everywhere, sharing their knowledge – B5150.
“I never had any hairloss when I pinned the testosterone in my butt cheeks, but when I tried pinning in my bicep, I went bald” is some broscience you could find in a forum, or a gym.

This sounds a lot like information passed around in the marketing community everyday, doesn’t it? Information that the experts and gurus spout and that their following lap up with alacrity, no?

Bromarketing

When I first started blogging, I was an MBA student with a few years of sales and marketing experience, but nothing profound enough to really give me any great perspective. I’d never read a single marketing book, listened to a marketing podcast, attended a conference, or done anything else to educate myself outside of my few marketing classes. But, I had a blog and was passionate about marketing, so I started posting my opinions, and lo and behold, people followed, subscribed, and praised me.

It felt good, like I was right and justified in thinking what I did even though it wasn’t backed up by anything other than my own experience and a lot of support from people that thought the same way I did. And then, I got into analytics and real, big, demanding client work and started to find that a lot of the things that I had previously thought simply weren’t true. For example, at the first Twtrcon, I asked Guy Kawasaki, “If Twitter is all about transparency and being a real person, how do you gel that with the fact that you have four people tweeting for you constantly and you’re not really engaging with anyone, just promoting your own business?”

His response really stuck with me. “I run a business, and my goal is to make that business a success. If the best way to do that is to have people tweeting for me, I’ll do that regardless of whether or not that’s transparent or ‘real.’ Transparency hasn’t proven to move my business toward success. This has.”

Think about that for a minute.

I’d been in the grip of the bromarketers for so long, and I’d been supporting them in this vicious cycle where you pat my back and I pat yours because we both believe the same things and never question them. Some of these people were supposed to know better because they were supposed marketing gurus, and they were walking about spouting openness, and engagement, and things like, “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

In reality, they were just disconnected from the point of any business – maximizing shareholder value. They were the people that had experienced success, and due to their success and the constant ego stroking they received from their followings, they passed off their knowledge and experience as fact because telling you what you want to hear is what keeps them in business.

Unfortunately, it’s gotten even worse as more and more people start blogging and sharing their “expertise.”

Real marketing advice

via kimba

Real marketing advice

On a recent SEOmoz webinar, Tanner Christensen said, “Real advice is often the advice we don’t want to hear,” and this is the problem with bromarketing. Bromarketers give the advice that’s easy to hear.

Bromarketing feels logical because it supports your worldview, but it’s just confirmation bias. Bromarketing is someone telling you that not having a website and only using a Facebook Page is always – 100% of the time – a bad idea simply because it wouldn’t have worked for them or anyone around them.

Bromarketers don’t test. They don’t challenge assumptions. They just pass on bad advice from blog post, to tweet, to webinar, to conference talk. They’re not out their challenging the status quo. They’re perpetuating it because that’s what supports their business – confirming your worldview.

Should you go without a website? Maybe. Maybe not, but ask the question. Don’t just assume you know the answer. Can you send an email with Free in the subject line? Ask the question. Don’t just assume you can’t because some marketing ninja wrote a “Top 10 Words to Never Use in Email Subject Lines” post.

Like Tanner says, real advice is often what you don’t want to hear because you’re probably going to find out that you have to do the hard, uncomfortable, challenging work instead of taking the bromarketer path of least resistance, where you can just go with the crowd and never question what you’re told.

It’s time for the bromarketing to stop.

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3 Responses

  1. This is why I answer almost every question asked of me with “it depends.” Not because it’s self-serving, but because the proper thing to do tactically depends on a deep understanding of the goals of the business, what has been done to the site or marketing program to date, the results of those efforts and so much more. Great post Eric! Look forward to reading lots more on your site.

  2. Good stuff. I’m not a bro, but I have been guilty of this several times I’m sure! I tend to gravitate towards blogs that have case studies or real life examples of businesses achieving success with certain marketing strategies, rather than someone who claims to have the secret ingredient. I also think that this is why having an outside perspective on your work is so important. Failing to check your ego and believing your own propaganda is a sure way to becoming a bromarketer.

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