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Hey, Web Guru, Your Advice is Toxic! (Avoid if Easily Offended)

Posted By Jeffrey Eisenberg On August 27, 2007 @ 1:26 pm In Accountable Marketing,Improving Conversion,Marketing Rants | 16 Comments

Don't drink the Kool-Aid [1]If you’re responsible for planning, measuring or optimizing online marketing, you’re already too busy to breathe. Nevertheless, you have to keep up with all the latest and greatest developments.

That is why you look to the blogosphere and the collection of publications that publish advice from “experts”.

Like you, I keep current with a lot of what industry experts have to say. Some of it’s excellent, some is good, some of it’s neutral, but a dangerous yet substantial portion of it is toxic. I sometimes point to the excellent. I sometimes prod the good with a question or comment. I largely ignore the neutral or harmless even though it provides a source of endless chuckles for my team. However, my tongue is bloody and scarred from repeated biting in an effort to refrain from attacking the toxic misinformation being published.

STOP! Don’t drink that! The Kool-Aid is poisoned!

I can’t say that, can I? You might think I was mean-spirited, unprofessional, spiteful or disrespectful of someone’s opinion.

So, why do people drink the Kool-Aid? If you say anything with enough conviction, someone will believe you. If you put a thought in writing, on a blog, your credibility increases. If you sprinkle in a collection of conventional wisdom, paraphrased concepts and some pseudoscience, the cocktail is ready. Bottoms up!

I haven’t linked to any such toxic advice, even though I read two blog posts and an article this morning that I know will send some people off on expensive wild goose chases.

I hate being called an expert. I’d rather the results speak for themselves. I’d also rather have the right questions than the right answers in a truly accountable marketing system.

I’ve been involved in cleaning up experts’ messes for almost a decade. If you’re a client, you know I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you the truth.

Dear reader, how can I tell you the truth? Perhaps it’s impossible, but I’d like to know if there is some way I could save you the pain.


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