The Prospect’s Protest and The MarketingExperiments’ Creed


Yesterday, during one of our most widely attended web clinics ever, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin passionately talked about marketing to the post-modern consumer in 2008. In it, he stated a problem, puting it in the form of a protest to marketers from today’s average Internet consumer. He then proposed a response, which he put in the form of a creed, that he believes all marketers would be wise to adopt.

During the call and since then, participants and subscribers have been asking for copies of both documents. So, I have the permission and privilege of posting them here.

The Prospect’s Protest (A Problem)

I. I am not a target; I am a person: Don’t market to me, communicate with me.

II. Don’t wear out my name, and don’t call me “friend,” until we know each other.

III. When you say “sell,” I hear “hype.” Clarity trumps persuasion. Don’t sell; say.

IV. I don’t buy from companies; I buy from people. And here’s a clue: I dislike companies for the same reason I dislike people. Stop bragging. It’s disgusting.

V. And why is your marketing “voice” different from your real “voice”? The people I trust don’t patronize me.

VI. In all cases, where the quality of the information is debatable, I will always resort to the quality of the source. My trust is not for sale. You need to earn it.

VII. Dazzle me gradually: Tell me what you can’t do, and I might believe you when you tell me what you can do.

VIII. In case you still don’t “get it,” I don’t trust you. Your copy is arrogant, your motives seem selfish, and your claims sound inflated. If you want to change how I buy, first change how you market.


The MarketingExperiments’ Creed (A Response)

ARTICLE ONE: We believe that people buy from people, that people

don’t buy from companies, from stores, or from Websites;

people buy from people. Marketing is not about programs;

it is about relationships.

ARTICLE TWO: We believe that brand is just reputation; marketing is

just conversation, and buying is an act of trust. Trust is earned with

two elements: 1) integrity and 2) effectiveness. Both demand that you put

the interest of the customer first.

ARTICLE THREE: We believe that testing trumps speculation and that

clarity trumps persuasion. Marketers need to base their decisions

on honest data, and customers need to base their decisions

on honest claims.

Copyright ©2008 MarketingExperiments

Here is a video clip of Dr. McGlaughlin presenting the Protest and Creed:

I’m eager, as is Dr. McGlaughlin to know your thoughts and ideas about the Creed…

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  1. Dennis Damio says

    Flint – You are right on point! The creed goes to the core of ThinkingCraft’s vision to encourage marketers to market to consumer in the communication style they prefer.

    The consumer needs to be given a real choice…

    – a choice to be marketed to in their communication style.

    – a choice to select organizations who deal with them equitably and fairly.

    – a choice to be given all of the information necessary to make an informed buying decision.

    – a choice to opt in/opt out, purchase or return easily and honestly.

    Keep up the good work!

    Dennis Damio

  2. Andrew Foss says

    As I said at the seminar – AMEN

    Your comments echo the sentiments the Direct Marketing industry – where effectiveness and clarity trump brand building and hyperbole every time.

  3. Marketing Girl says

    Great Post! I think you’ve highlighted some great points that we marketers need to remind ourselves -often. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement that is marketing and forget the most important thing – our customers. Anyway thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Todd Ebert says

    This post really hit home with me since we are just about to start a major direct marketing campaign and the team is writing the typical marketing fluff content that sounds like every other vendor. We are a different company with truly great products and people that are the best in the field. So instead of sounding like everyone else we need to change our approach/copy to our real voice and develop real relationships over time. That is how we built our business over the last 10 years so I’m not sure how we wound up with quick-hit, hype-filled marketing. The buck stops here.

  5. Trevor Mauch says

    I completely agree about every point… I’ve been writing our email newsletters in a personal tone for months now because we found it converts way better.

    We keep getting advertisers w/ products sending us their “ad” copy… and we don’t use it because it’s complete crap. Great work. I’ve thought this… just havn’t seen it on paper yet.


    – Trevor

  6. Mou Mukherjee says

    The creed along with the webcast was fantastic (beyond my greatest expectation). I immediately wrote about it in my blog, and updated it once the creed was published. The webcast brought clarity to a lot of ongoing marketing issues, and presented guidance on how to move forward. The part on optimizing the right thing first was so helpful. I was really impressed, I look forward to attending more.

  7. Eric Leist says

    That protest video is dead on. I actually laughed out loud at how people seem to be missing such obvious problems in their marketing and advertising.

    I cited this entry in my blog post. Check it out:

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