Jumping on Bandwagons

October 10th, 2005 by Bob Bly

It always surprises me how many marketing people jump on trends and become ?instant evangelists? for the new thing ? whether it?s blogging, podcasting, or SEO copywriting ? mainly, it seems, because it IS new.

They so badly want to believe that their beloved gimmick is the ?holy grail? or marketing ? the silver bullet ? despite the fact that such has never been found ? and, I am convinced, never will be.

I?m of a different school ? the ?show me? school. And in marketing, that means showing me that a new tool or trendy technique has a proven track record of generating a positive ROI.

Until that happens for a new marketing technique ? whether it?s blogging or whatever ? I can?t see getting excited about it. Why would you?

It does seem to me that the people who are quick to embrace the ?next big thing? ? even though it?s far from certain to be so ? are mainly the consultants who want to peddle advice on that marketing method to unwary clients.

So the consultants make money whether it works or not. But the clients lose big time when it produces zilch in results.

Right?

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 10th, 2005 at 8:50 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.

19 responses about “Jumping on Bandwagons”

  1. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    Yes, you’re right. But it’s not a simple yes or no question. True, there are always new next thing evangelists and hustlers who never give a sucker an even break. But it’s not just in marketing. You find even worse in the medical fields.

    On the other hand, you know better than most that you have to adapt to new technologies and media. Your “Online Copywriter’s Handbook” doesn’t replace your “Copywriter’s Handbook.” It supplements it. And I’m sure you’ve seen by now that blogging has expanded your network. Does that mean that blogging is “the answer”? Of course not. It’s just another tool in your toolbox. And a lot less expensive to test than a direct mail package.

    The key, I think, is to get our priorities straight. Too many people confuse tactics with strategy. We first have to define who we want to reach, then what we need them to think. Only then can we decide the best way to reach them and communicate that thought.

    Is the medium the message? Only to the extent the message takes the form of the carrier. The same words in a phone conversation have subtle differences of meaning in a letter.

    Maybe that’s why the Ten Commandments were carved in stone.

  2. TonyD said:

    A consultant whose solutions don’t work won’t last much longer than a writer whose copy won’t sell, in my opinion, but it’s true that new technologies generate a lot of hype. Consultants prey upon the customer’s desire to be cool and cutting edge. However, customers who desire to be successful last to generate more repeat business!

  3. Konstantin said:

    Maybe somebody will find some lessons for “show me” school in increasing the ROI by running a blog.
    Quote from DMN http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=34196:

    eHobbies.com says it has watched its conversion rate double from the normal 2 percent to 4 percent whenever site users visit one of its blogs. Since adding blogging to its site in May, 5 percent of the company’s overall traffic comes from its main blog destination, http://www.ehobbies.blogs.com. In addition, 5 percent of all orders have recently tracked to a blog-based coupon.

  4. JSLogan said:
    Success Is The Ultimate Measurement
    The bottom line is results. And too few consultants I encountered measured their worth against my results. Fewer were willing to base their fee upon it.

  5. Lisa Banks said:

    Perhaps one reason many marketers (especially those marketing their own expertise) are quick to jump on the bandwagon with new trends is that it provides them with a yet-unexploited business niche. For example, Debbie Weil has carved a nice reputation for herself as an authority on blogging for businesses. But I doubt that you’ll see any of the marketers who can stand the test of time subscribe to the notion that their niche is the Holy Grail – rather, it’s simply a tool that can help increase ROI when integrated properly. And the fact that they have become authorities in that trend can give them a powerful head start on other marketers who don’t understand it yet.

  6. Debbie Weil said:

    Hi Bob,

    Per usual I agree with you… sort of. How are you, BTW! One reason I’ve thrown my hat into the corporate blogging arena is that I am always looking around the corner to see what’s ahead. I truly believe that blogging ultimately will change the tone and the substance of the conversation that companies have with their customers, their employees (and the media). This is a shift that I find fascinating. There’s also a practical element to it. Blogs (or something blog-like) are the new home pages. Static, brochure sites are out. Or soon will be. As to how all this translates into ROI and direct revenue right now, I don’t have the answer. And I’m content to wait. But that’s the journalist and analyst in me speaking. Writing my first book, “The Corporate Blogging Book” (Penguin Portfolio – 2006), is a big challenge, BTW. Fun sometimes (but not everyday!). How in heck do you write so many books?

  7. Dave said:

    Being “first” — first to the blogosphere, first to write for SEO, first to harness the power of WOM — can provide enormous financial payoffs. It can also kill your business.

    Sleazy consultants obfuscate that risk. Ethical consultants communicate it. Make sure you hire the right kind of consultant!

    Sincerely,
    A writer and marketing consultant :)

  8. Richard Leader said:

    According to MarketingSherpa’s latest Search Marketing Benchmark Guide,
    127 million Americans routinely use search engines
    MSN has just spent 12 months buidling a new PPC platform – that’s some investment
    According to 3,217 marketers, 4.2% of organic search clicks converted to a measurable action
    Paid Search marketing spend in 2005 is more than $5billion

    SEO isn’t the ‘next big thing’ – it was the last big thing. I’ve been doing it for the last seven years and I certainly wasn’t the first.

  9. Pamela Kock said:

    Know thy customer. If your ideal customer is among the segment that likes blogs, then you’d better be blogging. If your ideal customer thinks podcasting is cool, then dig out that microphone. On the other hand, if your target customer/client is on the conservative side and thinks such things are frivolous, maybe you should too, and should focus on more traditional outlets such as snail mail marketing, print ads and radio. It’s a simple matter of going to the places your customers go and convincing them that you’ve got a lot in common.

  10. Ray Edwards said:

    At the risk of being redundant: the “new thing” is almost always just a TOOL for doing the “old thing” in a new way. And the “old thing” is…selling. Communicating. Storytelling (or, as my friend Michel Fortin calls it, storySELLING).

    For instance, I do critiques at my site – not a new idea. But I do them via screen capture video. That’s an example of doing “the old thing” in a new way.

    Ray Edwards
    Copywriter / Marketing Consultant
    FREE 23-Minute Video Reveals Copywriting Secrets
    http://rayedwardscopywriting.com

  11. Coach Deb said:

    I guess everyone will have their bias on what the best use
    of business blogging is. Journalist writers will write about
    the theory behind business blogging; Marketing writers will
    write about how to use blogging techology to work for you
    and make money from it.

    Ultimately, with the blogosphere, capturing mind share
    is critical – so “being an early adopter” is far better than
    “jumping on the bandwagon” if you really want 1st
    positioning, as Jack Trout talks about in his book,
    Positioning.

    I guess those who pooh-poohed that thing called, “The
    Internet” regretted it. And those who pooh-pooh blogging -
    well – let them! It’ll give us early adopters the edge! :)

    I wouldn’t say business blogging is something that is a fad
    - esp since a huge investment just went into creating
    Google
    ‘s Blog Specific Search Engine

    Personally, I’d rather lead the bandwagon, then gasp for air
    trying to catch it – long after it left the station.

    But – then that’s my bias, as a business blogger whose had
    incredible $$ results from marketing with business blogging.
    And personally, I can’t imagine keeping this a secret from
    my best clients. That’s why we wrote a book about it and
    developed a complete curriculum for them on Marketing
    with Business Blogs

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