post # 81 — May 18, 2006 — a Client Relations, Strategy post
When and if I am ever tempted to write another book (and I will be, I will be), I’m going to keep by me “The top 12 sins of Marketing Gurus (and their books)” the May 15 blogpost by Uri Baruchin, an Israeli marketing consultant based in London.
As a brief summary (read his post in full for explanation) his top 12 are
- Anecdotal evidence:
- Best practices:
- Sweeping generalizations:
- Sweeping negatives:
- 100% evangelism (or “I’m converted, let me go”):
- More bulk for your buck:
- New marketing is old marketing and vice versa:
- Rebranding of jargon:
- Evoking the geeks:
- Round numbers:
I hope I don’t make too many of these mistakes in my writing, but I’d like to offer some defense of some of these practices.
First, the reason that so many authors and consultants use anecdotes, best practices, sweeping generalizations and sweeping negatives in their work is that clients, readers and other audiences want exactly that.
As someone who has written both anecdotal and “present-the-evidence” books, I can report that no-one wants to spend the time to follow a refined chain of logic, and no-one wants to be forced to wade through the accumulated evidence just to have the conclusion justified.
Instead, clients and readers are always asking for the key message, something they can absorb quickly and turn into a corporate mantra. Clients keep telling me they have a new strategy, when all they have is a new slogan, slightly adapted from the latest fad management book.
Yes, consultants (including me) make all the mistakes that Uri identifies so well, but I think that this is one time when the blame must be shared.
It’s not just consultants who are responsible for creating management fads and inventing new jargon and “pushing” them onto a reluctant audience. Just as frequently, if not more often, the clients and the readers (again including me) are “pulling” the fad approach by implicitly asking authors “What have you got that’s new, exciting and can be conveyed in a keynote speech?”