The World Is full of C students...who think they are marketers

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Dumb Quote: “How much will it cost to buy their influence?”

Wow. This sales “genius” had been struggling to bring in new customers since he was hired (if not before). Scrambling to show some semblance of progress, he looks at a list of industry speakers for an upcoming conference and sees an opportunity in making them shills to help him land a whale. Out of desperation, he begins pontificating on how he could buy the influence of these well-known authors and speakers.

Smart marketers know that influence isn’t bought—it’s earned. The way to draw attention, praise and endorsement is to be the best at meeting the needs of your market. It’s just dumb to try and find an “influencer” that’s as desperate for your money as you are for their voice. It only helps a fool find someone foolish enough to pay him.

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Dumb Quote: “Our customer satisfaction levels are far too high!”

I know—incredible, right? And in this business, more than 50% of all sales were coming via word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers. Even more amazing, this joker was taking this position to justify shifting dollars away from providing stellar customer service to one of his pet projects—wait for it—a “branding” campaign.

Smart marketers know that branding is an outcome, not an activity, ad campaign, or color scheme. And what better branding outcome could there possibly be than having an army of satisfied customers singing your praises far and wide?

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Dumb Quote: “With 20% margins, this 30% discount looks bad. But just wait ‘til the volume ramps!”

Yup. This idiot executed a contract whereby the retailer in question would
get a locked-in 30% discount—on a product line with only 20% margins to
begin with. And even though a teenager could easily see that 30% will
always be greater than 20%, it took a finance person, walking through
volume projections for an hour, to finally get this bozo to see that this contract would never—and could never—be profitable, at any volume level.

Smart marketers know how to use basic math to make better decisions. Dumb marketers see their ineptitude at math as the reason they went into
marketing in the first place.

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Dumb Quote: “I’m running these ads to let my foreign competitors know that we’re in this business.”

This amazingly stupid explanation was offered up by a tech product marketer to explain why he had spent over $700K on an ad campaign in a country he wasn’t even selling into. He wasn’t advertising to potential customers—no way, that would be silly. He was advertising to the two potential competitors in that country. Genius! Idiot.

Of course, when it was pointed out that for much less than $700K he could fly a team of people to each of those competitors’ headquarters, every month for a year, and tell them personally, “We’re in this business!” he thought that was just silly. Idiot apprentice.