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We Live in a New Era of Over-Promises & Under-Deliveries

Yes, you read correctly and of course I’m being cynical.

Throughout my career, I’ve prided myself on my ability to under-promise and over-deliver in my work. It stemmed from my upbringing of being honest, needing to be a valuable teammate and desiring to make my work appreciated.

However, lately I’ve noticed an opposing trend. Have you seen those digital marketing “infomercials” on Facebook and Instagram? I call them digital infomercials because they typically start with a compelling story in the form of data. They also often display sexy photos that confuse your brain.

Is that a diet offer or a clothing brand? Oh no, it’s a marketing miracle!

Their videos are upbeat, the messages are inspiring and you want to cry out loud: Yes! Finally, someone is going to help me grow my business easily and fast so I can travel the world in my boat giving paid speeches while my business makes millions of dollars in revenue. All without sacrificing my family or my sanity!

They make unbelievable promises that you so desperately want to believe: Marketing without a Budget!

Finally, when you see others in your social network, people you consider to be intelligent ‘liking’ those ads, it causes an instinctive reflex and your finger just clicks on it.

In these advertising videos, we usually see younger speakers claiming they will boost your revenue or number of clients by 10 times just by sharing their “secrets.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been keen to learn about innovations and explore new ways to disrupt markets. After all, as a serial entrepreneur myself, I’ve launched multiple starts-up with new business models in tech and retail. In short, I’m open to gaining valuable insights from unlikely sources.

So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’ve filled out a few forms and watched some of those online pitches. They spend the majority of their presentation time trying to convince you of their legitimacy, but the “secret” is seldom delivered as promised.

The lesson I learned by doing this and in the context of this new digital economy is that you have to learn the skills for yourself.

In Marketing, there are no shortcuts. Building a business takes time.

It involves a process of carefully listening to your customers while suppressing all your assumptions in order to truly hear them.

Digital Marketing is a required skill set similar to literacy at the beginning of the century.

Literacy has long been used as a method of social control and oppression. Throughout much of history, reading was something only privileged, upper-class white people were allowed to learn. School wasn’t free like it is today. Education was exclusive, and this preserved a class system that kept the poor powerless and the rich powerful—a practice that continues today in the realm of marketing. Marketing literacy is an essential tool for individuals and states to be competitive in the new global knowledge economy.

In the spirit of increased marketing knowledge, I decided recently to share my experience as VP of Marketing in a series of webinar recordings on a topic which I care deeply about: Brand Innovation through Personal Transformation.

In our new economy driven by online behaviors, there are new leadership and marketing skills that will help you bring your unique creation to life - whether it’s starting a new business, a non-profit or a personal project. Curious? Check it out.

In the meantime, let’s start a conversation: What resources do you use to learn new marketing skills?

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