Dealing with Anti-Marketing Snobs

September 25th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I was at a party recently where circumstances forced me into small talk with another guest.

?What do you do?? he asked me.

I explained that I was a copywriter and wrote sales letters.

He snorted: ?I never read junk mail,? he said, smirking.

?And what do you do?? I asked politely.

?I?m a chiropractor,? he replied.

I snorted: ?I never go to chiropractors.?

I almost added that I only go to doctors who actually graduated from medical school ? but I didn?t.

Why is it that other people feel the need to put down total strangers ? and especially put down marketing?

It?s ironic that so many people look down on sales and marketing, when virtually every one of their employers depends on it for their very survival, don?t you think?


This entry was posted on Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 7:45 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

78 responses about “Dealing with Anti-Marketing Snobs”

  1. T said:

    According to “gurus” you are not supposed to call yourself a “copywriter.” What are you supposed to call yourself then?

  2. Greg said:

    I just started going to a chiropractor about two weeks ago. My particular provider is very marketing oriented. And consequently, his service is growing even in this recession.

    I disagree with some of the statements he made in his main marketing presentation since they are claims not proven by science, but I chalked it up to a little hype that I forgive easily.

    I did enough research to believe that chiropractors, and mine in particular, can help with my particular problem — lower back pain and subsequent loss of mobility.

    I am seeing some relief after two weeks.

    Chiropractors are not “doctors” in the medical sense. They are physical therapists who call themselves doctors. And there are many whom I would not see.

    In the past I have had luck with message and yoga. And I have been dissatisfied with some M.D.s

    But getting back to marketing. Everyone in business markets. Some are just very bad at it.

  3. Bill Rice said:

    No marketing + No sales leads + No sales + No revenue = No business. Simple, but powerful.

    Proof? That chiropractor just lost any opportunity at a prospective client. Foolish.

  4. Dean at Pro Copy Tips said:

    I used to try to explain that I am a consultant in direct marketing and blah blah blah. Then I gave in and just started saying. “I create junk mail.” I hate that term, but everyone always understands it.

    Then before they have a chance to get that look of disapproval, I follow up by dropping the names of a few big clients, such as TurboTax, American Express, and Sprint.

    If that doesn’t work, I tell them about my international travels to write and shoot TV commercials. TV impresses people for some reason.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    T, Dean: I did not actually say “I am a copywriter” because no one outside of marketing knows what that means. I said (and always say) the following: “Do you know how, at home and at work, you get a lot of junk mail? I write junk mail.” Yes, the DMA hates the term. But people get it.

  6. Brian D. Shelton said:

    Take marketing out of the conversation for a moment. Bob, you hit a broader point with your post when you ask the question, “Why is it that other people feel the need to put down total strangers…”

    Unfortunately, there is a general attitude that in order to make yourself feel better, you need to diminish someone else’s accomplishments, opinions, choices, etc.

    Perhaps if we showed a genuine interest in other people, we’d learn things that would help us improve, grow and succeed.

    Not only did this chiropractor lose a client, he also lost an opportunity to forge a relationship with someone who could help grow his business by multiples all because he was too wrapped up in himself, too wrapped up in putting someone else down to prop himself up.

    If you want to know real joy, build others up, offer encouragement, show a genuine interest in them. It will come back to you ten-fold.

    Oh, and when someone does step on you, resist the temptation to strike back. Give them a polite, “that’s too bad,” walk away, and get back to doing what you do.

    Thanks, Bob, for sharing…

  7. T said:

    Bob: How do you describe your profession without getting into the details you describe? Marketing consultant?

  8. Lou Wasser said:

    One would imagine, after years of success, that the contempt from “snobs” would seem like water off a ducks back to you.

    Everyone endures contempt from some quarter. I once had a biology professor who looked down on physicians (imagine!) and liked to call them “applied biologists.” Novelists think they’re better than non-fiction writers, and poets think they’re better than novelists.

    Physicists think they’re better than engineers. Psychiatrists think they’re better than psychologists.

    Oh… and by the way, tell your chiropractor friend what orthopedic physicians think of him.

    Bob, take the money to the bank and laugh out loud. You’re at the very top of your game, and valued highly by your peers.

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  11. Bob Bly said:

    T: If I don’t feel like doing my “You know how you get a lot of junk mail” routine, and I don’t care that much whether the person really understands what I do, I either say I am an “advertising copywriter” or tell them I have an Internet business. I do not say I am a marketing consultant because I am not.

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  14. Chip Tudor said:


    Good point about marketing. I have 2 advertising agency clients with stories that are similar. People from other vocations that look down on them because they’re in advertising. Sad that some people feel the need to make themselves bigger by putting someone else down.

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  16. Phil Dunn said:

    Some things my dad always reminds me of:

    The most successful lawyers are the ones that are the best salesmen.

    The best doctors are the most compelling and persuasive (might apply to chriopractors, too).

    The best politicians are the best sales people.

    And on and on…

    This might not apply to athletes, but I always hear about how razor thin the success factors are in being NHL, NBA, MLB or NFL as opposed to 2nd tier. There have to be some communication/persuasion factors going on there. How do they get their breaks? How do they get the best trainers and professional development coaches to work with them?

    Back to regular professionals: None of this has to do with tricking people into buying services, btw. It has to do with professional competency and *communication skills*. It has to do with answering the question: Who do you want to work with?

    I love the morons who say TV ads, direct mail, radio ads and even spam don’t affect them. Then they go clip a coupon for frozen pizza, call their financial planner about debt reduction, buy P&G brands at the market, and keep the Viagra industry afloat!

    One of the craziest stories lately is my own. I despise Netflix because they weasel around every conceivable pop-up blocker. Then my mom recommended them to me, and I signed up for a free trial!!!

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  26. marc said:

    Why do people look down on marketing people!!??!?!?!?!
    Try receiving unsolicited text messages that invade your privacy… especially ones from adult chat services on Christmas Eve when you’re at home with your family.

    Try driving down the road and being visually assaulted by crass loud and incredibly ugly unnecessarily huge billboards.

    Try this:

    Try having litter dumped at your doorstep in the form of junkmail every day…

    And so on

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