I spent 20 minutes tonight doing something I've never done before. I explored Twitter. Most of us have spent time reading tweets, following friends, and searching for things you are interested in. But have you ever spent any time clicking through people's following lists to see what is behind the tiny favicon-sized images? Tonight I did, and the results were pretty outrageous to say the least.
I started by clicking a few faces of people who were following me. Then I started clicking the people who they follow. I repeated this, often going back to click other people, but usually picking another face at random from the 'Following' list. You probably guessed by the title, but--spoiler alert--a shocking amount of people are Marketing Experts. So I decided to start visiting some sites and find out what exactly a "Marketing Expert" is.
It would seem that in this day and age everyone is trying to make a buck. More power to them, its the American way. The good news is all you need is a Twitter account and you can find countless people to help you learn how to achieve success beyond your wildest dreams. Visit their blogs, read their posts, and learn thousands of different "5 steps to success" programs. Although it concerns me that there are so many different programs, nevermind that! Clearly, if it comes from a Marketing Expert, it must be right. And as the great Craig Ferguson often says, "I read it on the Internet, so it must be true." So that's two reasons to be a believer in what they have to say.
But what DO they have to say?
For the most part they don't say a whole lot. They have infomercial-style presentations, Boardwalk-style hype, and if only it were a product it would slice, dice, cure, enlarge, grill, clean, and recharge. But it isn't a product. It is a secret. It is a secret, wrapped in hype, hope, and dreams, all neatly packaged for you. You, the lucky one who will be let in on this secret, for the low low price of $175, wait-- $99, no, now only $19.95! Yes, if you act now you too can enjoy this tightly-guarded secret (limited to only those people with $19.95 to spare) to achieve wealth from your armchair in your underwear.
Are they full of crap? Why would anyone ever believe this stuff? For starters, we're not talking about random Twitter users. We're talking about people with tens of thousands of followers. We're talking about people whose blogs have tons of traffic and dozens or even hundreds of comments on each post. With that kind of popularity, maybe this one is the real deal. Maybe my blog only gets 500 visitors a month because I'm not using the secret techniques of this system. Apparently all I need is a blog, a Google Adsense account, and these secret techniques, and its a game-changer. If only I could decide which person's secret techniques to overnight wealth, success, and power to buy...
Let's take a step back and look at society as a whole. There used to be the "haves" and the "have nots." Now it seems there are the "Marketing Experts" and the "rest of us." With so many Marketing Experts on Twitter its no wonder they have tens of thousands of followers. If they all just follow each other, they have instant credibility. Or at least an instant Twitter mob following. But fortunately for them there are enough of the "rest of us" left over who are hungry for extra dough, especially in this economy, to actually whip out a credit card or Paypal account and buy their secrets. Sociologically it is very, very interesting to me to see this, however outrageous it may be. I mean can you really expect everyone on the Internet to have a multi-million dollar website? If we did, who would be buying our products?
The Magic Word
And that is the key point to be made here. You have a blog or a website and you are either sharing information or trying to sell real-world products. The thing is, most of the Marketing Experts aren't selling anything at all. They put together an eBook, a members section, or some other bucket of data and then they proceed to hype the hell out of it. This gives their service an incredible perceived value and creates physiological urges in their potential customers. Its only $19.95, right? If I want to sell more widgets, it doesn't take many to make up $19.95! I can do that easily, even if I don't achieve the great success they promise. And that's exactly what they're counting on. You see, for them it isn't only $19.95 but rather $19.95 multiplied by as many suckers as they can reel in. The best sucker of all is the one who diminishes expectations and thus blurs the distinction of whether or not their money was well spent.
The great news is that if you don't achieve wild success with your first Marketing Expert "product" there's an endless supply of others standing right behind that one. Almost none of whom are selling anything real, they are simply repackaging logic, and a few time-tested principles. Go buy 7 Habits or a book by Zig Ziglar, Tom Peters, or another marketing author and not only will it cost you less, but it will be far more entertaining. There are a few out there who actually have what it takes, and they have legitimate marketing expertise. Erica Douglas, Brian Carter, and Michael Dorausch are the first ones that pop out of my head. Sure, they're on Twitter, and they are great at marketing, sales, and promotion. They are SEO experts, and at least one that I know of has an eBook that is worth reading. The big difference here: These people have real business experience, own real businesses, and most importantly they work their asses off.
And that last bit is the part those Marketing Experts tend to leave out.
For a good time, retweet this post. Let's see how many of those Marketing Experts we can get to come here and prove me wrong. We won't even charge them $19.95. But don't be late, act now, supplies are running out. Finally, if you just finished reading this and take great offense to what I have said, you may just be one of the people I'm talking about. Otherwise keep helping people because you may be another of the real ones.