stop shouting business marketing

Perhaps your learning experiences were not like this, but I hope they were. And if they were, did it ever occur to you in those moments that you were being sold something?

That the moment was approaching when you’d be asked to sign on the dotted line or open your wallet? When you’d kick yourself for being fooled into thinking that your teacher was offering something to you for free? When you’d learn to stifle the desire and ability to trust someone?

Of course not. What you received came without strings attached; it was a free gift of knowledge to change you, to shape you, to edify you. Not to compel you to buy something.

After all, your teacher wasn’t a marketer. Right? Or, was he?

It’s worth asking at this point: What, exactly, is marketing? Here I won’t quote a definition – not just because we’re all capable of looking it up ourselves, but because it really doesn’t matter anymore what the “official” definition of marketing is. Marketing, in its ubiquity, is something we all live and breath. We know what it is, though we may struggle with articulating it with any meaningful precision. In our culture, the distance between marketing and creativity is virtually nonexistent. Every bit of that space has been filled with the promotional. What were once barely overlapping magisteria have become fully integrated. It’s not enough that we make beautiful things, or have brilliant ideas, or even have powerful experiences anymore; they’re hardly real to the world until they’ve been shared in some digital burst of “Here I am, you should pay attention to me.”

Life and work has become noisy with marketing. And the noisier it gets, the noisier it gets, because we’ve bought into the lie that nothing cuts through noise bet- ter than the right kind of noise. But noisy marketing – of the parade for a naked emperor kind – is cheap; there is no there there, and we all end up feeling cheap for looking, anyway.

There is a better way, of course. But the better way requires that we get as far away from this sort of marketing as possible. In fact, it might be better that we call it something else entirely, because no one ever says, “I want to be a marketer when I grow up.” So, why not call it education? If you ever experienced the free gift of education – whether or not as I dramatized it above – let that be your model for marketing. For your sake; for the sake of all of us.

Inception – Disparaging marketing is easy, isn’t it? What I just wrote came naturally; it flowed out of my experience struggling with my own value for privacy and the fre- quency with which it is violated, coupled with my job representing a company and the frequency with which I have to market our services. I know the kind of marketing I don’t like, and to do it differently is easier said than done. Frankly, it’s just far easier to do marketing than to have marketing done to you. Yet, there is no Golden Rule for marketing – market unto those as you would have them market unto you. Shouldn’t there be such a rule? There can be. It starts with doing something good.


There is nothing wrong with selling things, or even with making lots of money selling things. There is something wrong, though, with selling a product or service that you know isnot worth its price. So there are some questions we must ask if we are to follow any “golden rule” of marketing: Do I believe in what I’m selling? Is it good for people? Is it worth what I am asking people to pay for it?

Could you imagine a teacher answering “No” to any of these questions? “No, I don’t believe in what I teach.” “No, what I teach is not good for people.” “No, what I teach isn’t worth the time my class requires.” Could any teacher with integrity answer no to these questions and still manage to show up for class every Monday morning? I doubt it.

Alan Jacobs, writing for The Atlantic about the role of quality in the shifting sands of business success, had this to say:
“What goes around comes around; what goes up must come down. Microsoft has been gradually drifting to the margins of our tech consciousness; Google is scrambling to find a way to compete with Facebook. Everything moves faster in a wired world, including the pace of change in business… A decade from now the landscape of the technologybusinesswillsurelook very different than it does today. Maybe by 2022 Apple and Amazon will be marginal companies once again – underdogs that I can feel good about supporting.”

What shifts the sands of the business landscape isn’t marketing, it’s quality. Apple rose to the top because it made outstanding products, not “just fine” ones with outstanding advertising. Microsoft, on the other hand, stumbled not because its advertising is terrible – though it really is – but because its products weren’t very good, either. And as for Amazon, Amazon rose to the top by offering a level of service that shocked shoppers: an easy to navigate store, with an unfathomably large inventory, and delivery that exceeded anyone’s reasonable expectations for speed. It reset those expectations.

The article goes ahaed with the chapters (pages 34 – 39):

Attract, inform, engage
Know your role
Resisting the Dark Side
Slow down
In, but not of
Ground control to ______
Guilty as charged

Read the entire article (pages 34-39) in “Outsourcing Europa”, which you can download (for a limited time) free of charge here:

> Download PDF



The author: Christopher Butler is the Vice President of Newfangled, a Webdevelopment firm special-izing in agency partnerships. He has written articles on the current and future state of the web for Print Magazine, Imprint,
HOW, Newfangled, and is the author of the forthcoming book, The Strategic Web Designer: How to Confidently Navigate the Web Design Process with HOW Books. You can follow Christopher on Twitter @chrbutler or visit: 

This article was originally published by Smashing Magazine (please pay a visit to:, an independent information service for designers and web developers.

Knowing the marketing methods commonly used by outsourcing service providers around the world, we found it might have a positive impact on how providers present themselves on the market – less annoying for the customer and more effective for the marketer.