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01/05/2006

No more Mr Nice Kawasaki: marketers are liars and PRs are whores

Guy Kawasaki publishes a list twelve top marketing lieson his website - and they're pretty good, especially "Conservatively assuming that each user only tells three additional people, we will have an installed base of five million by the end of the first year."

You always know you are dealing with people who are self-delusional, out of their depth or just stupid when you hear that sort of thing.

He's talking about start-up/early stage companies of course - that's his specialty. I worked at a PR firm that specialised in helping start-ups toward the tail end of the millennial dot-com boom and I got to meet a lot of marketers. They tended to fall into three categories:

1. Assured stars: there were less of these than you might of believed from the media, but some really tea;lented people mopved out o f established firms and did great things for the start-ups they joined, if they were able to pick firms with good business models.
2. Gold-blaggers: some of the people who migrated from old firms weren't so great though, they were mediocre or no-talent people who had sweet-talked start up CEOs into taking them on. They were the type most likely to spout the rubbish Mr Kawasaki points to in his post.
3. Lottery winners: People who found themselves promoted to head up marketing from.... well, anywhere. They could be a mate of the founder, a sales director or a designer - anything. They often found it hard to conceal their delight at finding themselves in this position and terror at not really knowing what to do. If they started using the lies it usually meant they had started hanging out with marketing directors in category two at dot-com networking events.

The quality of the marketing people almost always reflected the quality of the CEO. I did sometimes see the odd person who had pulled the wool over the eyes of a brilliant CEO, but mostly if they were a bullshitter with no substance, the CEO was a bullshitter too and the firm had no substance.

Anyway, I've left a comment taking him to task about the inference that all marketers are liars - it's a bit of a lazy slight, and it's just not true:

I think of the marketing geniuses that have helped build great brands or steer firms out of trouble and I think he's just wrong to say that.

It's a shame. I thought a lot of Mr Kawasaki - I've read his book and recommended it to a ton of people.

Oh yeah, and he likens PR firms to prostitutes. Which is nice.

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Comments

Apparently you don't read Guy Kawasaki's blog very often. The entry that you've commented on is a continuation of a series on the lies that various occupational groups in the high tech industry tell. Guy has taken pokes at Venture Capitalists, Entrepreneurs, Engineers and Marketing types. Each of the articles is largely tongue in cheek with a fair lump of truth.

Having spent over 18 years in the engineering sector of the computing industry I found Guy's list of lies that engineers tell a bit tough to read but I had to admit that they were indeed accurate.

I don't think Guy is saying that all marketing people are liars. I do think Guy is providing some insight into the common lies that some marketing people tell.

Next time you visit Guy's blog, you might want to bring your sense of humor along.

Aloha.

Thanks for the comment.

Maybe, I've had a sense of humour failure this morning.

Maybe, just because someone's joking to make a point doesn't mean you can't offer counterpoint to that point and say that they are (partly) wrong.

I agree with some of the article, but the off-hand slights were a bit too rich for my underdeveloped sense of humour.

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