5th Sep 2017

Marketing Advice You Don’t Want to Follow

‘I always advise people never to give advice.’ PG Wodehouse

People have a tendency to give marketing advice – whether you want it or not. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, how well you’re coping or what plans you have in motion, advice will come. The problem is that not all marketing advice is good advice.

You can find a thousand blogs and articles that dish out ‘good’ marketing advice that they make you feel that you can’t live without, so we thought we’d have a look at bad advice the marketers, bloggers and other professionals had been given that they obviously couldn’t live with!


“There is a lot of bad advice out there but one mantra that sticks in my head is to “be controversial” to get traffic to your site.

To me, this is like playing with fire. I can’t imagine convincing my boss that a company and a carefully-groomed brand should mindfully be associated with forced negativity. If the thing blows up in a bad way, you’re into damage control and even if it works, can you really sustain “controversy” as a strategy? This is different than holding a legitimate opinion or taking a stand in an authentic way.”

 Mark Schaefer

Consultant, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, Adjunct Marketing Professor at Rutgers University

“Publish regularly”.

“The fact is, no one cares how often you hit the “publish” button in WordPress. Blogging today is 110% about quality…not quantity.”

 Brian Dean at Backlinko

“Do it for the for the award shows!”

 Matt McGowan

Strategy at Google and COO of Americas Ad Agency Business

“Write a certain number of words with a certain number of keywords etc. Write for your readers, not for Google. Answer questions, explain how to do something, or entertain your readers. Give them a reason to share your article and come back to your blog again.”

Peg Fitzpatrick at PegFitzpatrick.com

“Blog it and they will come.”

Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s bogus. Just because you’ve finally started to blog, doesn’t mean that people will just flock to your blog and subscribe to you via RSS feed.

In fact, you will probably be your only reader for quite a while. Or maybe you can convince some relatives. But that’s fine. It will give you practice.

What’s important to keep in mind here is consistency and continuity. And of course, you need to start sending out invitations to that party happening on your blog. Social Media is great for that. Go share crazy with your blog posts. Share them everywhere. The real marketing happens after you’ve pushed the ‘publish’ button!”

Sarah Santacroce at Simplicity

“Blogging is easy.”

If you don’t consider yourself a writer then there is nothing easy about it at all. On top of that people fail to tell you all of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on like setting it up, plugins not playing well, picking a paid theme, hosting and database issues and the list goes on.

“Although it’s not easy, it was so worth it.”

Adrienne Smith at AdrienneSmith.net

“Avoid popular, saturated niches. I’ve been blogging for about 7 years now and I’ve always been drawn to niches that have a lot of readers, and a lot of existing blogs. Although there is a lot of competition for attention from readers there are also a lot of positives about highly competitive niches. The traffic potential is huge, plenty of opportunities to create and sell your own products, countless affiliate products that you could promote, lots of sites and blogs for guest posting and link building, plenty of other bloggers to network with, etc.”


Marc Andre at Profit Blitz

“I’m writing this from an SEO perspective –

“Don’t worry about SEO, just write good content.”

You hear this one a lot right now and it drives me crazy. Content marketing is part of a good SEO strategy, it is not a replacement for SEO.

I recognize that this idea comes straight from Google, and it probably works for brands and big businesses, and for those markets that are not yet competitive, but if you’re a small business fighting for the limited real estate on page one of Google, it’s not enough.”

Brent Carnduff at Echelon SEO

“It is important to write content that everybody wants and loves. It’s based on statistical analysis showing that only a percentage of viewers will click past a headline, and then as the reader travels down through your post, more and more will click off, resulting in a small percentage who actually finish the piece.

And that’s a problem, right? Wrong!

In and of itself, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that not everyone will be interested in your article, and that not everyone will continue to be interested enough to read it.”

Mike Allton at The Social Media Hat

“Don’t worry about building a list. This could be the single worst piece of blogging advice ever and unfortunately, something I followed for my first year.

If you’re blogging for business, you must focus on building an email list from the very beginning. Why? Building a list allows you to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with your subscribers.

Subscribers are the backbone of your blog and a marketing extension of your business. Start today and extend the conversation beyond the walls of your blog.”

Rebekah Radice at RebekahRadice.com

“Maintain a high standard of content by posting something new every day. This can bring more visitors to a blog, because all new content is indexed by search engines, and a blog with fresh content appearing on a regular basis can rank higher in search results.

Not every blogger is able to make such a big commitment, and this advice is not right for everyone. Many people will be put off blogging by the idea of creating and publishing quality content every day. It is better to suggest that bloggers set a schedule for posting content with their own timetable in mind.”

Ron Sela at RonSela.com

Social Media

“One thing that has really bothered me is how many times I hear these two words – Have to.

* You “have to” be on Facebook.

* You “have to” blog.

* You “have to” do Google Adwords.

I’ve had the opportunity to listen to literally dozens of marketing speeches where so-called experts have said these two words. Not once have I ever agreed with that. Marketing is both art and science.

There is no “one way” to do things. If you ever hear someone say that there is something you MUST do…that there is no other way…my advice is…run.”

Joe Pulizzi

Founder, Content Marketing Institute and Author, “Epic Content Marketing”

“I was once advised by another digital marketer not to ‘waste time’ with social media with my client who was operating within a B2B market. Needless to say this advice was ignored and that client has enjoyed much positive in nurturing clients and prospects with relative, creative content via social channels.”

Anthony Lavall, Search Manager at Flight Centre

“The worst advice I’ve ever heard is that social media marketing is not worth the time. Social media marketing requires a lot of work and strategy, but if the effort is put in we find that it is extremely valuable and effective, especially for small businesses.”

Trevor Murphy, Vice President / Business Development at Friendemic


“Bad advice: I’ve been told to outsource or intern our social media efforts. Good advice: Since social media is a direct link to clients, partnerships, and potential business, it’s best to have social media ambassadors who are invested in the company, and support it consciously.”

Michelle Martin, Client service and marketing coordinator

“We’re a B2B company. We don’t need to get into social media.

Train wreck! Enough said.”

Chris Bladek, Marketing Specialist at O’Brien Installations Limited

“Traditional marketing is dead, we need to go with social media marketing from now on.

I can’t believe I heard this from another marketing professional. No one channel will ever provide all the coverage you need.”

Richard Hatheway, Senior B2B Technology Marketer

Branding. “You just got to get your name out there.

Branding? Just get your name out there? It’s like selling an empty package”

Randy Aimone, Content & Inbound Marketing Specialist

“From a sales director preparing for a trade show: ‘We need cuddly toys to give away, men like cuddly toys!'”

Alfred den Besten, Sales & Marketing Operations

“Way back in the 90’s just before a tradeshow when the local Sales Director stuck a box of a not-yet-released software product on our custom built booth: ‘this is how we should create interest.’

Sales is not marketing, but unreleased product before a launch campaign is not a way to create interest. It’s the way to have fights at our trade booth”

Lindy Dragstra, Marketing Director at ITem Marketing

“Good or bad, what matters is (they) talk about your brand!

No, Clearing up after the bad press is always messy and sticks like glue to any future campaigns. Social media comments need to be dealt with – positive or negative, until closure.”

Miguel Soares, CEO, Partteam & OEMKiosks

“Let others do it.

Like whom? Who can do it better than you?”

Allan Colman, Law firm marketing

“What worked in the past will work in the future.Never rely on past campaigns for success. Why look back? You’re not going that way”

Steve Turley, Director of Technology Consulting at Bulldog Solutions

“If you build it they will come… No one gets anywhere without a lot of hard work. Having a great product of social media set up is no guarantee of success if no one knows it’s out there.”

Darren Cohen, Head of Marketing at PSG Wealth

Here’s the brand style guide – don’t deviate”. As if:

* What worked in print and email channels would magically transfer to social channels.

* Talking about ourselves – with the right font and color palette – was the priority. * Giving no regard to the social conversation, and adapting to that conversation, was the norm.

* The command-and-control method of brand marketing still existed.

Michelle Lapierre

Senior Director, Customer Experience & Social Media at Marriott Rewards

“Brand doesn’t matter. Direct Response marketing techniques alone are the only approach worth investing in.”

Brodie Keast, Management and Marketing Consultant at Rogers Communications


Anything that starts with “All you need is to rock SEO!” The bit at the end could be Email, Social, Site Experience, Paid Search, Affiliate, anything really. That advice is a demonstration of I’m a one-trick pony and so let me do the one dance I know.

It takes a complex mix of marketing strategies by companies to win. We’ve grown up with silos. Any advice related to optimizing one silo falls in the category of “worst marketing advice.”

The best employees/consultants obsess about optimizing for a Marketing Portfolio and possess the incredible capacity to understand each channel’s purpose, are able to recommend content matches in response to the customer need, and finally measure success of that portfolio strategy you know you have great marketing advice if it represents clear thought for the entire marketing portfolio and the advice’s role in it.


Avinash Kaushik

Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google

“We don’t need Marketing, this will sell itself!

And in the real world … everyone else needs to work at it”

Lashondra Graves, VP of Marketing and Social Media Strategy at Strategic Decision Education Foundation

“We don’t have time for a strategy–do something!

Running around with no plan will never take you anywhere you need to go. Planning is essential to marketing”

Barb Rentschler, Chief Marketing Officer

“We do not need marketing in B2B. We are not Coca-Cola!”

Dr. Doerte-Katja Laue, Global Business Lead at DSM

“The worst marketing advice I’ve heard recently is to use the same ad creative across all social media platforms because you want your campaign message to be consistent everywhere.

Customers behave differently on each social media platform. Their need states vary from Facebook to Instagram to Vine. Your ad copy and call-to-action should be customized to meet specific need states.”

Mei Lee, VP, Marketing – Digital at Conde Nast Entertainment

“Drop the price. That will help us get more sales!”

Doug McCartney, Software (SaaS) Sales and Marketing Leader

Hands down the worst advice I’ve received is to religiously input past results into forecasts of future ones and then build plans accordingly. Consumers and the communications landscape are changing too fast to keep doing what you’ve always done and expecting the same (or better!) returns.

Success requires knowing your consumer today (not yesterday), open-mindedness to new ideas, media experimentation and innovation.

Julie Fleischer

Director, Data + Content + Media, Kraft Foods Group

“It all starts with a sale…”

Marc Winitz, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Monitise

From a marketing director: “Do you know how I keep my Marketing Automation costs low? The software vendor charges me for the number of (data) records I have in the database, so I delete the oldest records every time we approach the 25,000 records maximum.”

Alfred den Besten, Sales & Marketing Operations

“In 2009, the CEO of a (now bankrupt) advertising agency I used to work for said, ‘Don’t buy into that internet hype. It’s just a fad and it’ll die out soon.'”

Olaf Pijl, Freelance SEM Consultant

As you can see advice is a very personal as one man’s meat – is another man’s poison! There is no advice that can replace knowing your audience and working with them to get them what they need. Marketing advice is a delicate balance between art, science and common sense. Nothing replaces experience, but it’s wise to remember when you catch yourself offering marketing advice – do you really know their company well enough?