It was pointed out to me by more than one person that my Ideal Web Development Team I completely neglected marketing. What good is a great product if nobody knows about it?

Thats a great point!

But I hate marketing. There, I said it. Marketing is a dirty business full of bastards. That’s right [Scott], you’re a bastard. You may be a great guy, but by profession you’re still a bastard.

Marketing has single handedly ruined The United States Postal Service and could still ruin e-mail. I barely check my real mail anymore because Im innundated with crap. Yes, I want my bank statement. Yes, I want my bills. Yes, I want things that I explicitly request. Hell, I dont mind things from lists that I opt into. Its not worth my time walking to my mailbox just to go move 5 letters for potential credit cards, 2 catalogs, and a set of coupons to my trash can.

The saddest part is the most underhanded methods still work. Junk Mailings, Fake Credit Reports, Publisher’s Clearing House, Popup, popunder, shady SEO techniques, [full pages of flash ads], comment spamming these parasites wouldnt be employing those means unless they had some sort of return.

Trying to get me to spend money on things I won’t spend money on is awful. Not just for me, but for marketers. It’s wasted time and money.

Will Rogers has a good saying:

“Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn’t have to advertise it.”

It boils down to economics for me: if I don’t have the demand for it, I don’t want to hear about it. However, there’s a pretty good defense I hear a lot: unknown demand and reinforcement.

“I didn’t know Diet Coke with Splenda existed” or “I had forgotten how good Cool Ranch Doritos are” are perfectly setups that I don’t really mind. I don’t mind occaisionally being reminded of something that I enjoy. I don’t mind being exposed to something that I will enjoy. Currently, marketing is a crapshoot. Marketers are spending big bucks on educated guesses that still have huge failure rates instead of surefire buyers.

Either spend more time making a great product, or spend a LOT more time researching your product’s buyers. Not “potential” buyers. That’s wasteful. Yes, I know it isn’t able to happen now. Tough shit. Leave me alone until it can happen.


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14 Responses to Scum

  1. Lee Coursey says:

    I think you’re a little off. See, the majority of advertising (yes, advertising – it’s not the same as “marketing”) doesn’t really connect with you – because you’re not the prime demographic. The prime demographic for most products is either 18-35 women or 25-45 men. Shave gels, tampons, diet coke, etc. – they’re mostly targeted at people with more disposable income, more to manage, and less time to think. They’re reminded about products through advertising (Maintenance – “Coke is great!” “Pepsi tastes good!”) because they typically have so much on the brain they literally forget about them.

    Marketing decides who the target should be and what the total approach is to maintain or ascertain them.

    That said, I think more than 30% of modern advertising misses the target. That’s sad. It’s bad when I have to REALLY think to figure out who the target market was meant to be.

  2. bofe says:


    I don’t care what demographic I’m in. Marketing should know to target something to me regardless of my demographic.

    Marketing informs the advertising people what to advertise, no?

  3. Lee Coursey says:

    Yes, in most cases advertising is getting the message from marketing, but I think you’re missing one very important thing: in any given 1/2 hour of programming, only about 1 in 7 of those minutes used for advertising is meant for you. It’s slightly more on MTV or Spike, but a lot less on CBS, NBC, or ABC.

    Expecting them to reach you “on message” at any given time is just a wrong assumption. They could try to encompass the entire market, but for most products advertisers are looking to get those key demos we talked about, and they could care less what YOU think about that ad…

  4. Scott says:

    I feel obligated to weigh in here…yes, marketing is a bit out of had. However, personally, I try to avoid email marketing (I left) to concentrate on search…which, by definition, is an attempt to create relevant sites that are easily discovered by folks that are offering them.

    I will admit that many SEO’s are evil and are trying to ruin the internet…but many of us are good guys 🙂

    Targeting demographics is another great method to improve relevancy. I may choose to purchase and advertising buy on a site with demographics similar to our target customers because I know it’s something they will be interested in…it’s part of life, and is non-obtrusive and actually useful when done well…like I do it 🙂

  5. Scott says:

    one last thing…good marketers do exactly what you suggest. they gather data on their buyers, and use that to target them. the collateral damage involved in that is if you have no interest in women’s products, but for some unknown reason like watching lifetime movies….like Lee said, they just don’t care if you like the ad or not…it’s a game of getting your message in front of the highest concentration of interested buyers.

    OLN’s coverage of the Tour de France is a great example of advertising done well – almost every commercial I see on Nashville’s Comcast is a local bike shop, or a national bike chain, or a Nike ad for the 10/2 product line.

  6. Tim says:

    Uhh… wasteful spending money on advertising? bofe… let’s think about this..

    point of advertising? to make your product profitable… ya, so explain wasteful here.. thanks

  7. bofe says:

    No problem, Tim.

    Wasteful spending – if you’re trying to reach someone who will buy your product and you don’t. That’s a waste of money.

  8. Tim says:

    I disagree. It may be indirectly a more economical means of advertising/marketing/promoting/etc. a product, service, business, etc. by simply blanketing an entire area with your promotional material than to spend time & money researching in order to identify segments and particular potential buyers, etc.

    If my product has $100 of profitable margin builtin to its price and I can advertise in a newspaper via loose insert for $0.50/insert with a distribution of 10,000 papers… or $5000. So, I have to close deals with 50 people of 10,000 papers distributed. Therefore, ignoring the fact that a single paper can be read or shared among more than one person, my single run advertising campaign has to have, what, 0.5% close rate to break even?

    Now, that example was for something very basic and generally not that profitable per success. Compare the same scenario with a service company that’s making 65-80% margin per success and maintains relationships with clients, repeat business, etc. So, $6250-$7700 of service makes my $5000 investment profitable. If I’m a professional consultant of any sort, thats not hard to do.

    The whole point of this retarded rambling is this. The general cliche in business, it takes money to make money, is the reason marketing works and the reason business seek out marketing/promotional assistance. That same cliche is the reason I firmly disagree with your statement of “wasteful spending”. Wasteful spending is Murray State’s budget for landscaping.. not spending money enticing and informing people why they should buy your product or use your service. Attempting to generate business is only wasteful spending when you gain nothing (brand name recognition, referrals, etc) from an advertising compaign (or whatever a subdivision of a compaign might be).

  9. Rick says:

    Hmm… I have to chime in here, even though I’m not much of a marketing-type person… as will be proven in the rest of my post. I have 2 points I want to share:

    1st: How can you say that marketing via spamming commercials, mailouts and inserts is great because it may make someone want to use that product/service, but then complain about the landscaping of a campus. Granted, the money could be spent BETTER, but there’s a chance someone will see a picture of the university, or walk through it, and fall in love, and then come to the university. This is something that the administration understands and that students have and will always fight against (we did when I was there). But, it BEAUTIFULLY matches (in quite wonderful irony) exactly what you were saying. If .5% of students who visit campus decide to come there, in part because of the campus beautification, then it was worth it.

    2nd: I don’t believe Andy is claiming that the sort of marketing we’re discussing never makes a dollar, never sells a product or never aids a business in success. But, to say that it is perfect (or even good) as it is, is to stifle innovation. It’s the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” bullshit argument I’ve spent my short professional career fighting tooth and nail. That’s a cop-out for lazy shit hacks. The current marketing/advertising (I’m not going to differentiate, see my opening disclaimer) scheme where you send out 500 billion mailings, hoping for a .01% return because that means you are profitable, is broken. Does it work? Yes, if you mean does it make money. Has it worked for a long time and will it continue to do so? Yes, in the same restricted definition of ‘work.’ Could it be better? I hope.

    Good God. If I wrote 1000 programs per day, and uploaded them all to the server and executed them all, hoping that maybe 1 or 2 per week did what they were supposed to, I would be fired instantly. How the hell did this mass-annoyance method become not only acceptable, but passionately-defended as a great method? It’s piss-poor; no one else is allowed to be useless 99.5% of the time, and still keep their job/function.

  10. Tim says:

    I knew that someone would comment on the campus beautification reference and apply it back through the example I used. It was just an example.. not the premiere, perfect implementation of a marketing strategy. I don’t recall saying perfect, just showing why it’s usable and profitable.

    I also don’t recall mentioning 500 billion mailings and wouldn’t consider inserting something into a newspaper spamming.

    The comparison between writing programs and advertising isn’t a valid one either. Hell, a baseball player who gets out 65% of the time makes the all-star team and millions per year.

  11. Randolph says:

    Time for the marketing/tech guy to chime in again. First of all, I’m against “spamming” of any sort…

    However, let’s talk about print (newspaper/magazine spamming)….this is not my area of expertise, but I do know one thing…if not for those inserts and ads in those papers, they wouldn’t exist. The money made by subscriptions or newsstand costs isn’t enough to cover the cost of printing the material, paying your reporters, etc….think of it this way, viewing those ads is the price you pay for content.

    Same with many websites….the ads are there because people that really have something to say aren’t going to say it for some eutopia, maybe…but you’re not going to get nearly as much quality content if you’re not willing to at least put up with some ads.

    Search Marketing (SEO/PPC) is probably the the most profitable form of marketing (outside of word of mouth or viral marketing – and even viral isn’t what it used to be – free)..for example, in June, I booked almost $70 worth of room revenue for every $1 I spend in PPC. I made enough profit to pay my salary for a year, buy a decent sized house, and a Bentley (of course, I saw very little of that)..but that should put it in perspective. Of course, search marketing’s entire goal is to put your offer in front of people that are looking for it, so it’s probably a moot point.

    In many cases, all a marketer is asked to do is be effective that .5% of the time. Usually that is enough to cover the cost of the campaign, and make a nice profit.

    In short, without some sort of marketing, you can have the best product in the history of the world….and no one would no about it except you.

  12. bofe says:


    There are television networks with higher costs like HBO without commercials that seem to be doing pretty well. Who is to say print couldn’t do the same if the content was that demanded?

    I realize marketing is vital — but a 0.5% success rate is laughable when comparing it to other trades. Can you imagine a truck driver making 0.5% of his deliveries?

  13. Rick says:

    Or a hooker NOT giving clients STD’s .5% of the time?

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