The 4 Scariest Types of Marketers (and How to Avoid Them)

October 31, 2011
How to spot a bad marketer

In honor of today’s spooky holiday, I’m going to talk a little about bad marketers. Here are the four scariest marketing monsters with whom you should avoid working, no matter the time of year.

The zombie

Whether shambling or speedy, zombies are known for being single-minded: they want brains, and will walk through fire, break through windows and doors, and brave gauntlets of hatchet-wielding survivors to get them.

Zombie marketers are similarly obsessed: they want the first rank in Google and a million Facebook fans, and they all use the same tactics to reach that goal — whether or not those tactics have proved successful in the past.

Example

A marketing company convinces their client to set setup on Facebook. Despite the fact that there’s nothing to share (the client never blogs or comments about interesting industry news) and nothing to promote (the client doesn’t do giveaways or discounts on services), the marketing company continues to push Facebook ads that no one ever sees or clicks on. They’re so focused on getting brains—Facebook fans—that they don’t look at their surroundings — the data and lack of ROI.

Avoiding the zombie

It’s good to set challenging goals for yourself; but if your marketing partner is pushing for a goal you know you can’t reach, you may have a zombie on your hands. If your marketing partner is not willing to change tactics or try for different goals, it’s best to go your separate ways.

The vampire

What the vampire marketer want supersedes everyone else’s goals; they’re not afraid to cheat, steal, lie, and seduce their way to success. They have no soul, no compassion, and no capacity for empathy.

A vampire marketer is someone who takes much more than he or she gives. He hoards knowledge and resources, and doesn’t seem to understand that by helping others succeed, he will in turn reap even more benefits.

Example

Eric is a fantastic marketer, but he’s also kind of sleazy. A couple of his clients’ websites have been penalized by Google for using black-hat SEO tactics, and he’s known for his ego and unwillingness to talk about what he calls “trade secrets,” even with his customers. He has the potential to be an industry leader, but his underhanded tactics have left many of his clients sucked dry.

Avoiding the vampire

In many cases there’s nothing you can do to force a vampire marketer to stop being a vampire. His black-hat tactics have brought him easy success for too long, and you’ll likely never get straight answers from him about his marketing strategies. Leave before he gets his hands on your website.

The ghost

Some ghosts can rattle windows and cause cold drafts, but the majority can’t do much but fade in and out of view.

Ghost marketers talk a big game, but in the end, all they are is air. They set up strategies and make plans and project their success, but they just can’t follow through. They’re insubstantial and ineffective.

Example

Casper Marketing has a flashy website that details all the ways they can help your business grow and succeed. Their blog is updated often with the latest in marketing news and strategies, and they always have the right answers. They promise that they can get you top ranking in search engines, plenty of inbound links, and lots of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

But when the tactics they swear by don’t work, they don’t do much but shrug their shoulders — and the harder you try to get them to suggest alternatives, the fuzzier their responses become.

Avoiding the ghost

If you’re working with a marketer who makes a lot of promises, but can’t seem to back them up with anything substantial, you’re probably working with a ghost. To be sure, though, ask these questions:

  1. What kind of effort would that take?
  2. What does the data say?
  3. What else can we try?

If he can’t give you some good answers, consider working with a different marketer.

The Hydra

According to Greek mythology, the Hydra was a multi-headed monster with poisonous breath so powerful that even her tracks were deadly. Killing the Hydra was practically impossible: for every head that was cut off, two grew in its place.

Like his namesake, a Hydra marketer is almost impossible to get rid of. No matter the tactics used to avoid him, the Hydra marketer keeps showing up.

Example

A few minutes after attending a webinar, you receive a call from the webinar’s organizer. He want to know if you enjoyed the webinar, and asks you questions about how you think you’ll be implementing what you’ve learned, and whether or not you plan to use his company’s product or service in the future.

Even though you don’t attend any more webinars or visit the company’s website again, three or four months later you’re still receiving the occasional sales call or email. Where’s Hercules when you need him?

Avoiding the Hydra

The best way to avoid the hydra is to never work with them in the first place. If they irritated you, why should you work with a marketing company who insists that you irritate your customers and prospects in the same way?

Do you have a marketing horror story to share? Leave it in the comments!

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[Image: salvis.are