Has Your Marketing Turned Into Anti-Marketing?

by Paul Simister on August 10, 2011

If marketing is everything you do in the business to attract, convert and keep customers and clients then what happens if your marketing doesn’t work?

It may have become anti-marketing.

What is Anti-Marketing?

Anti-marketing provides a reason for your marketing messages to be ignored and for potential customers to leave you and existing customers to look elsewhere and when they find something better, to stop buying from you.

This isn’t a new idea. Rosser Reeves (the man who invented the Unique Selling Proposition) in his classic book Reality In Advertising says “The people who read and remember your advertising may buy less of your product than people who are not aware of your advertising at all. Your advertising, in other words, may, literally, be driving away customers.”

This is very bad news and shows that while marketing messages may be creating awareness, they may also build up resistance.

Anti-Marketing Is All Around Us

I see anti-marketing every day and so do you.

My email inbox fills up with marketers who are actively practising anti-marketing.

They train me to ignore their messages and to eventually unsubscribe.

How do they do that?

  1. By sending me stuff that is irrelevant and no possible interest to me.
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  2. By constantly pitching me. I want value from my relationships and not constant “buy me” messages. Yes there has to be a balance because if you don’t make an offer, then you won’t get much action.
    .
  3. By sending me fluff that sounds interesting before I click but has no real value. it just wastes my time and makes me angry when I realise I could have been doing something much more productive.
    .
  4. By sending me stuff that is the same as everyone else is sending. This is the big drawback of affiliate marketing for product launches. The constant barrage of emails may break down resistance for some but it builds up resistance for others – both for the product being promoted and the sender of the email.

Why Ant-Marketing Works Against The Business

Every time you ignore a marketing message, you increase your chances of ignoring it again unless you think “That’s sounds interesting but it’s not quite the right time for me.”

Persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, identified the need to be consistent with what we’ve said and done in the past as one of the six factors of influence.

The more we do something, the more it becomes a habit. Something we want to do and believe is the right thing to do.

The less we do something, the more we think it’s a bad idea.

You see this with social media and why some people love Facebook and Twitter and use them all the time and many others try it once or twice, don’t get the point and then give up.

It’s the same with anti-marketing.

Ignore the contacts or marketing touches and instead of feeling bad that you’re missing out, you start to feel good.

You’ve resisted temptation. You’ve taken control of your life. You decide what you do and how you spend your time.

And when you feel good about ignoring marketing, you’ll do it more.

The Latest Example Of Anti-Marketing

Google Plus is the latest big thing in social media and I’ve become very aware of the impact of anti-marketing and I’m probably suffering from it as well.

When somebody who is a big name connects, I look through who they follow to fill in the gaps of who I’d like to have in my circles. I see plenty of names I’m familiar with and I ignore them.

Some I don’t know what they do – they’ve failed the 3 word branding test. They’ve had my attention in the past but it hasn’t been a strong enough connection for me to find a position in my mind.

Others I know what they do, but I haven’t been impressed. They’ve got a place in my mind but it’s not a good place.

Both are victims of anti-marketing.

Marketing Isn’t About Appealing To Everyone

Sometimes it’s right.

Perhaps I’m not their sort of person and vice-versa.

I was talking to a branding expert yesterday and said that some people thought my Profit Tipping Point video was unprofessional. To me it’s a bit of fun and presents important parts of my marketing message in a light hearted way. Those who think it’s silly are probably not my type of person and we wouldn’t work well together.

It’s fine to polarise. In fact I think you need to because attracting some means repelling others.

Since I’ve been self employed and particularly since I stopped working with corporates, I’ve been very keen to take away any thought of the “stuffy, boring, patronising consultant” image.

I want you to succeed, I know my stuff and I want us both to have fun.

Perhaps that should be my tagline.

Anti-marketing is happening when people you want to have a closer relationship with don’t connect with you, either because they don’t accept that you’re special or unique or they don’t think you’re authentic and genuine in your dealings.

What To Do If You’re A Victim Of Anti-Marketing

First you need to make sure that you stand for something. The three word test is powerful for you to define what you want people to think about you and to then check what they do think about you.

Then, once you’re clear on what you want to say – your main marketing message or theme – you need to carry out a  marketing audit.

If marketing is everything you do in the business to attract, convert and keep customers and clients then what is it that you are saying (verbally, in writing, impressions) and doing.

Does it support the message you want to send or does it contradict or confuse it?

Everything that presents your main message well, is likely to strengthen your brand and relationships. Everything that doesn’t is anti-marketing.

Do You Have Some Anti-Marketing Stories?

Have you experienced anti-marketing and be turned off somebody who you should like?

Or have you been guilty of anti-marketing yourself. I’ve already confessed that it took me a long time to specialise so people didn’t really know what I did.

Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Paul Simister is the business strategy coach who helps business owners to differentiate their businesses and develop winning strategies. Get your free copy of the ebook The Six Steps Profit Formula.

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{ 1 comment }

Paul Simister August 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’m using the phrase anti-marketing to explain the idea that some marketing turns off rather than turns on customers.

Others use anti-marketing as a phrase to campaign for the abolition of marketing or at least to give you, the potential customer the opportunity to opt-out.

I had to laugh at the irony of how you market an anti-marketing company without being a hypocrite. It’s quite a challenge.

See this piece on unsolicited phone calls from The Anti-Marketing Group
http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=126526

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