How a good man died because of bad marketing

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My wife Laura is is by no means a “Marketing Maniac,” but she’s learned a thing or two from years of sleeping with a guy who is.

Laura is heavily involved with relief agencies that serve the poorest of the poor in India and Africa. Last winter she went to a conference in St. Louis where hundreds of charities were recruiting workers and raising funds.

Her comment to me upon arriving home:

“It’s incredibly depressing that the very people who are doing some of the most precious work in the entire world are the most abysmally horrible marketers.” And she plunks down a stack of brochures to prove the point. She says, “Half the time you had no idea what these people were doing, let alone why you would want to help them.”

A good man literally dies every day because those organizations haven’t bothered to master the art and science of communication. Heck, a 100 good men die every day because of their incompetence, maybe even 1000.

Early this morning I recorded a conversation with UK advertising legend Drayton Bird (The MP3 will be posted for Mastermind Club members). Drayton has been writing ads for literally 50 years now. In one sentence, Drayton explained why these organizations’ marketing is so bad:

“They think people are going to be interested in what they do simply because it’s good and important. They think their cause is so noble that they forget to think of anybody but themselves.”

Amen Drayton. And I gotta tell ya, this is a nearly universal affliction. I’m as guilty of it as anybody. I almost never hard sell, even when I should. I’m completely serious when I say that there are people out there whose business failed because I didn’t convince them to buy something that I sell.

"What should I do next to grow my business this year?" Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the most bang for your buck.

Whatever it is that you do, there are people whose life is LESS good because you didn’t convince them to give THEIR money to YOU. Because what you sell is worth MORE than what you charge and you know it.

The better the product you sell, the more obligated you are to shout it from the mountain tops.

The irony is, it’s often the people with the most crappy products who invest the most effort into selling them. If you doubt me, turn on the TV and watch the infomercials. How many of them are selling some totally cheesy product that breaks after 1 week or doesn’t deliver the what’s promised, yet they’ve crafted and tested a brilliant sales pitch?

Why is it that crappy product = great marketing and saving lives = bad marketing???

Is there anything wrong with this picture?

NEVER let the virtue of what you sell lull you into laziness. If you’ve fulfilled the obligation of creating a good product that delivers the goods, then you have a 2nd obligation. Which is to sell it with gusto and enthusiasm.

You’ve got the goods. Now, stand and deliver.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: If you live in Europe, not being at my London seminar with Drayton Bird will cost you £50,000.

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

11 Comments on “How a good man died because of bad marketing”

  1. Perry,

    Another GREAT article. I thank God I can look to you for valuable insight. I had to tweet a couple of the ideas I picked up here.

    One of my objectives is to bring solid advice like this to the marketplace… especially to communities that are sometimes underexposed. After more than five years in… I’ve discovered… that can cover a HUGE number of biz owners from all walks of life.

    Side note… I was just in a supplier diversity meeting yesterday for a leading airline. After listening to multiple department heads, a company representative got up and *EMPHASIZED* to all aspiring vendors… “Be sure to communicate your value proposition when you speak with one of our representatives”.

    The core of my biz is helping small biz owners to boost sales by having and leveraging a USP. The thing is… I first learned about USPs form YOU… back in 2006. Looking back… I wish I would have been faster to get something going back then.

    Nevertheless… your expert advice is worth it’s weight in gold.

    Thanks for bringing your ‘A’ game,

  2. It is another one hitting the bulls eye………..
    Marketing must be alligned with the product otherwise the disastrous match will be the result.
    I am developing a GPS and RFID based tracking system for school buses.For this i had already collected data through secondry research for my prospective customers(Schools). Now i have to communicate the product offering to the customer and try to convince them that this product will help you and solve the existing problem.
    Suggest me what will be the best method to approach the customer?
    What marketing strategy should be used, because the prospective customers are not aware about the benefits of this technology.

    1. You need to find lists of people who manage fleets of school buses – through email lists, magazines, ezines, trade publications & societies.

  3. Hello Perry, I hadn’t though about why people are not working with us until I read your articles. You make good sense and put a lot of thought into everything you do. Thanks, Andrew Gallop

  4. Hi,

    Great article. So many peoples work well for themselves but when it’s time to put it on the market, they fail.

    Fear, proscratination, any reason will be a good reason for them.

    Marketing is not for everybody… but everybody will will to learn some marketing tips.

    Have a good week !


  5. This quote is the most pithy reason I have seen for bad marketing:

    “They think people are going to be interested in what they do simply because it’s good and important. They think their cause is so noble that they forget to think of anybody but themselves.”

    and links in with a commetn Bryan Todd said in an Interview I heard yesterday about the fundamental truth about copywriting and marketing (including adwords) is to continue on from the conversation that is going on inside your prosepcts head.

    I’m going to this article and Bryan’s comment in my Copy Bible so when I am doing my best to persuade I use these all powerful fundamentals to give them the solutions they really want and need!

    Cheers Perry and Bryan!


  6. Nice article…

    By the way, I heard the shout out Laura gave you on NPR this morning for your anniversary.


  7. True True… I’ve heard it said that if you have a good product that will help your market, it’s your MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to persuade prospects to get on board.


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