Damn Those Ethics and Principles!
Updated: Jun 20, 2020
In a previous blog I explained how bad I was at marketing. I've been been on all the courses, know all the techniques and I understood how the algorithms work, but I'm uneasy with all of it.
It’s been a while since I wrote that blog and nothing has changed. If anything, my opinions about marketing have hardened.
Current methods of marketing rely heavily on the Internet and social media platforms like Facebook. These methods are generally designed to be highly manipulative and I find them intrinsically dishonest. They seek out a niche and exploit it. The operative word being 'exploit'. The situation over the last couple of months has only served to reinforce this.
How many businesses start a post or ad on Facebook with, 'During these unprecedented times...' and then try to sell you something? How many businesses make a point of aligning themselves with key workers in some way or affiliate themselves with the 'national effort' as a means of self promotion?
This kind of advertising has become so ingrained in the way that people and organisations do business, few people question the ethics of using a bad situation to sell products and services. It's bread and butter to marketing companies.
I've been on a number of courses where such things are discussed at length and they are taught as perfectly acceptable methods of identifying potential customers. Small businesses are encouraged to join community groups and charities on social media because they offer great advertising opportunities and are peopled by potential customers with common interests. They are handily gathered in one place, easy to access and their shared interests can be used as a ‘way in’. It can be dressed up in all sorts of noble language to allow the perpetrators to fool themselves into thinking they are doing it for the benefit of others, but the underlying dynamic is always to promote and sell.
To most of us, a shared interest or community group on Facebook is what it says on the tin. To businesses it’s a potential market place.
I’m not saying there aren’t businesses who are involved with Facebook groups for genuine reasons but it would be difficult to pinpoint where common interests and shared goals end and promotion begins. The two things are so intertwined, I’m not sure people are even aware of the difference.
When I voice these opinions to people who run businesses similar to mine, they look at me like I’m an alien or an idiot. Worse still, they start sentences with, “In order to compete...”
I hate that sentence!
The simple truth is, I don’t want to compete with anyone. I just want to fix computers. I want to be able to do a good job, at a fair price and earn a modest living. I have no desire to be rich or ‘at the head of the game’. I have no idea what ‘growth hacking’ or ‘moving the needle’ mean and I couldn't care less who the 'influencers' are.
In an ideal world my technical skills would speak for themselves. People would say, "There's a person who does a good job," and other people would ask me to do the same job on that basis. Sadly this is far from an ideal world, appearance is everything and form generally takes precedence over function. So I can be exceptionally good at my job and offer a great service at a reasonable price but no one will ever know because I’m a complete failure at marketing!
On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are bad at their jobs but are great at selling themselves.
This puts me at a distinct disadvantage.
Damn those ethics and principles!
Note: If you're really cynical, this blog entry could be seen as little more than an attempt to promote Danitek Computer Repairs. It contains all the key elements I'm complaining about, improves my google rating and it could steer people towards my business by garnering sympathy for my plight. However, these are unprecedented times and... 😉