5 March 2021

Two things you never want to hear from your marketing supplier

Rob Croxall
Written by Rob Croxall

Rob Croxall is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. He has over 30 years’ experience working in the media, engineering and charity sectors, focussing on UK as well as global markets.

Marketing waffle is everywhere.

In fact, such is the ubiquity of impenetrable and confusing jargon, a whole host of satirical sites have cropped up online.

Take, for instance, Douchebag Strategist on Twitter; a bot which dispenses nonsensical but all-too-believable ‘advice’ like:

“Winning brands are platforms for anti-conversational storytelling.”


“If anti-consumerist digital marketing is from Mars, on-demand outsourced decision making is from Venus.”

It’s funny because it strikes close to home. We’re sure you’ve endured meetings with all manner of brand, marketing and digital specialists who spout meaningless phrases, said with confidence, but ultimately fall hollow.

It’s time to stop.

We’ve been rallying against marketing charlatans for some time; those people who call themselves marketing consultants but replace insight with bluster, strategy with tactics and planning with procrastination.

The truth is, bad advice comes in many guises, but it’s always costly. There are two common red flags you should be aware of:

1. Can't explain the advice clearly

As Albert Einstein said, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. Be direct and ask your marketing manager or marketing consultant what they do and see if the reply is just as clear. If they can’t explain in one minute or less, head for the door.

2. This solution is the only solution

If the only tool you have is a hammer, it’s tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail. If you have a digital marketing consultant on board, of course the first thing they’ll talk about is digital publishing, social media and the like. But does their solution fit in with the broader marketing objectives or are they simply trying to sell you their solution? A marketing strategy is what works best for you, not them.

We’ve talked about marketing money pits before, but nothing will burn through your budget than a marketing consultant who can’t explain their role, and only has one solution to a problem.

At a fundamental level, marketing is simple: find what works and do more of it.

The same is true of choosing a marketing consultant or director. Have they got the right experience and qualifications? Can they prove results? Do they understand the business?

If not, find a different partner.

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