19 Things I Don’t Like about Marketing Today

Got a little inspiration from Bob Bly yesterday when he sent out an email titled “21 things I don’t like about marketing.”

After reading his list (which resonated with me), I decided to put together a list of my own.

Here are 19 things I don’t like about marketing today.

1. Marketers who refuse to run “long” copy because they believe their prospects won’t read it.

2. Google banning AdWords advertisers for life by retroactively enforcing new rules.

3. Marketers who make money online only by selling info-products about making money online.

4. Copyright trolls who seek inflated damages from small online business owners for the innocent infringement of photo copyright.

5. Auto-dialers that leave recorded sales messages on voice mail. (Thankfully, my Ooma Telo allows me to add phone numbers to my black list anytime I want.)

6. The faulty-but-prevalent thinking that any one technique or strategy will make a business successful.

7. Marketers who rip-off their freelance contractors.

8. Marketing seminars that are nothing more than thinly veiled excuses to hard-sell expensive info-products.

9. Sales funnels that feed new customers to boiler rooms that use manipulative tactics to sell “coaching programs” for $10K to $20K a pop.

10. Sales copy that is too trite, too clever, or too confusing.

11. Ads that fail to tell the prospect what to do next.

12. People who (ab)use LinkedIn and Facebook to mass-invite people to webinars and other marketing events.

13. Websites and ads that use reverse type (white font on a black background).

14. Sliders on websites that rotate too fast to read the copy.

15. PayPal and merchant account fees. (Which is why I’m hoping Dwolla continues to gain traction.)

16. Unsolicited canned emails that pitch SEO services.

17. Marketing and wealth “gurus” who publicly brag about their charitable activities. (FYI – this is one of the things con artists have in common.)

18. Businesses that seem to exist solely to enrich the owners — while treating their customers like an unpleasant necessity of making money.

19. Pump-and-dumps.

Anything you’d add to the list?

-Ryan M. Healy


  • John Breese

    October 26, 2012

    “Copyright trolls who seek inflated damages from small online business owners for the innocent infringement of photo copyright.”

    Well, at least you rank as the 5th result for “Getty Images Extortion”…still, it was an intriguing look at a very different universe.

  • Angie Rammer

    October 26, 2012

    How about marketers who like to push things to the edge so that the FTC feels the need to create more and more draconian regulations that make it difficult for small business folks and marketers to even get started.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      October 26, 2012

      Angie – Good point. I tend to be fairly libertarian in my views about regulation since many of the people involved with government regulation become even more corrupt than the private industry they’ve been tasked with regulating.

      For example: Mark Shurtleff, AG of Utah


      At the same time, marketers ought to be more honest in their advertising.

  • Ian Macher

    October 26, 2012

    Auto-auto start videos — ones that even when you try to get them to pause continue to re-start the video. Sheesh!

    • Ryan M. Healy

      October 26, 2012

      Yeah, Bob Bly included auto-start videos in his list, too.

      In a similar vein, I can’t stand those rollover ads that start playing a video when your cursor rolls over them. I do that accidentally just navigating a page.

      And some big sites have begun using background ads where the entire background of the website is clickable. I think I’ve accidentally clicked on an All-State ad like three times because of that.

  • Tom 'Bald Dog' Varjan

    October 26, 2012

    Great list, Ryan.

    I’ve also found relationship between #7 (Marketers who rip-off their freelance contractors) and #17 (Marketing and wealth “gurus” who publicly brag about their charitable activities).

    They think #7 can be kept secret, whereas #17 can go straight to CNN and will be a great news story.

    Although, many big companies do the same.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      October 26, 2012

      Tom – Great observation. Based on my own experience, the correlation between #7 and #17 is fairly strong.

  • Steve

    October 26, 2012

    I like #16. I get unsolicited canned emails pitching SEO services all the time…and they always make me laugh. If you’re a good SEO company, I should be able to find you on Google. If you must resort to spamming people about your SEO services, you’re probably not very good at SEO.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      October 26, 2012

      Srsly. I think I get pitched at least once day by an SEO firm — sometimes 2-3 times a day.

      It’s really amazing how many SEO companies are out there trying to drum up work via email. :-)

      • John Breese

        October 26, 2012

        You guys are lucky – they’re actually calling my FN house!

        • Ryan M. Healy

          October 26, 2012

          They’ve called me before, too. But with Ooma, I can blacklist ‘em. Booyah!

  • John

    October 27, 2012

    Just trying to keep up with Google changes.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      November 3, 2012

      Seriously. They’ve been making major updates to their search algorithm every few months.

  • Jim

    October 27, 2012

    Great list Ryan. I read Bly’s a few days ago also.

    Here’s my add: People who promote & sell themselves as a business consultant/coach, promising to help you grow your business, who have never run their own business – other than as a business consultant/coach.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      October 29, 2012

      Nice one, Jim. I bet that scenario is fairly common.