If you want to learn how to ski, play tennis, or sing better, you seek the help of an experienced coach. Yet, when it comes to learning how to market better, some executives will listen to just about any yahoo who shows up with a fancy presentation, sporting hip jeans and a beard, or claims to have a big blog following.
Conferences, trade associations, and webinars are full of marketing gurus hawking the latest promotional fads, such as how to tell emotional stories about your company, create online sale funnels, or use improv comedy techniques to pitch products.
We know it would be unwise to take financial advice from a broke person. So, why do we listen to people who have no empirical evidence or actual case studies to prove that their approach works? Are we gullible? Does our ego need to be around so-called movers and shakers to feel successful? Are we captivated by the enthusiasm and bravado of the pitchmen?
The source of the advice you accept can have a lasting impact. Consider those who lost millions to Bernie Madoff. We must be careful about whom we choose to listen.
The economy and our businesses are under constant change, and it is essential to monitor new trends and opportunities. Sticking your head in the sand can be worse than talking to no one. But, we must ensure that the people from whom we accept counsel have succeeded in the areas where we work. Just because someone has written a popular book or amassed a bunch of social media followers does not mean they can improve your condition. Listen to those who can demonstrate actual success in your industry or offer a sustained track record of results.
The dead giveaway of a guru is someone who expects you to sit at their feet in awe. Eschew these egomaniacs. Instead, listen to wise consultants who will sit with you to assess and improve your specific situation. I’ve never met anyone who can teach people how to ride a horse without having ridden one themselves.