We asked some marketing professionals for the worst advice they'd ever gotten, and believe me, there are some doosies out there! Here's a roundup of the best of the worst. It makes me want to close my ears to all advice!
What I "must do" or "should do"
"I came up with the concept of Barbie's Ferrari and those on the team said it would flop because girls don't know Ferrari. It was a huge success."
~ Fred Held, Former Mattel Executive
"I once had someone ask me if we could stop using 'free' in our direct mail."
~ Donald Seckler, President at Peak Inbound Marketing
"Any advice that begins with 'you must' is suspect. I love taking suggestions under advisement, but no outside adviser knows my business as well as I do, so must is only must when I say it's must."
"The worst advice I've ever gotten is that if Person X says this is what they want that's what we should do. A lot of times people don't know what they want even when they think they do. A few questions to that person about why and what's the objective it ties to can change everything."
~ Dave Roberts, Marketing Manager, Global Virtual Sales, Americas at Cisco
"The worst marketing advice I get is any blanket advice like 'you must' or 'every company should...' or 'you've got to...' And I really dislike gross generalizations like 'X is dead!' where X = advertising, blogging, branding, content marketing, email, PR, trade shows, or any other tactic."
~ Gordon Graham, Owner, That White Paper Guy
"The worst marketing advice I ever received was to keep quiet. When I worked for a large S&P 500 company they were so worried about saying the wrong thing, they just wanted to say nothing. When we did distribute news releases, the legal process took so long that by the time it was out the information was longer 'news.' Any idea I proposed about trying to start discussions or participate on LinkedIn or Twitter was responded to with a definite 'no.' That boggled my mind, and needless to say soon after those discussions I felt the need to move on."
~ Scott Olson, Strategic Marketing at Nimble LifeCycle
"The worst advice that I received was 'it's my way, or the highway' kind of thinking and closed mindset."
~ Beverly Boston, Systematic & Integrated Marketing Firm
Social Media is a waste of time
"I was once advised by another digital marketer not to 'waste time' with social media with my client who was operating within a B2B market. Needless to say this advice was ignored and that client has enjoyed much positive in nurturing clients and prospects with relative, creative content via social channels."
~ Anthony Lavall, Search Manager at Flight Centre
"The worst advice I've ever heard is that social media marketing is not worth the time. Social media marketing requires a lot of work and strategy, but if the effort is put in we find that it is extremely valuable and effective, especially for small businesses."
~ Trevor Murphy, Vice President / Business Development at Friendemic
"Bad advice: I've been told to outsource or intern our social media efforts. Good advice: Since social media is a direct link to clients, partnerships, and potential business, it's best to have social media ambassadors who are invested in the company, and support it consciously."
~ Michelle Martin, Client service and marketing coordinator
"We're a B2B company. We don't need to get into social media."
~ Chris Bladek, Marketing Specialist at O'Brien Installations Limited
"Traditional marketing is dead, we need to go with social media marketing from now on."
~ Richard Hatheway, Senior B2B Technology Marketer
Branding? Just get your name out there!
"You just got to get your name out there."
~ Randy Aimone, Content & Inbound Marketing Specialist
"From a sales director preparing for a trade show: 'We need cuddly toys to give away, men like cuddly toys!'"
~ Alfred den Besten, Sales & Marketing Operations
"Way back in the 90's just before a tradeshow when the local Sales Director stuck a box of a not-yet-released software product on our custom built booth: 'this is how we should create interest.'"
~ Lindy Dragstra, Marketing Director at ITem Marketing
"Good or bad, what matters is (they) talk of your brand! "
~ Miguel Soares, CEO, Partteam & OEMKiosks
"Let others do it."
~ Allan Colman, Law firm marketing
"What worked in the past will work in the future."
~ Steve Turley, Director of Technology Consulting at Bulldog Solutions
"If you build it they will come..."
~ Darren Cohen, Head of Marketing at PSG Wealth
"Brand doesn't matter. Direct Response marketing techniques alone are the only approach worth investing in."
~ Brodie Keast, Management and Marketing Consultant at Rogers Communications
Forget marketing... Sales is what's important!
"We don't need Marketing, this will sell itself!"
~ Lashondra Graves, VP of Marketing and Social Media Strategy at Strategic Decision Education Foundation
"We don't have time for a strategy--do something!"
~ Barb Rentschler, Chief Marketing Officer
"We do not need marketing in B2B. We are not Coca Cola!"
~ Dr. Doerte-Katja Laue, Global Business Lead at DSM
"Drop the price. That will help us get more sales!"
~ Doug McCartney, Software (SaaS) Sales and Marketing Leader
"It all starts with a sale..."
~ Marc Winitz, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Monitise
My favorite examples of the worst marketing advice ever
From a marketing director: "Do you know how I keep my Marketing Automation costs low? The software vendor charges me for the number of (data) records I have in the database, so I delete the oldest records every time we approach the 25,000 records maximum."
~ Alfred den Besten, Sales & Marketing Operations
"In 2009, the CEO of a (now bankrupt) advertising agency I used to work for said, 'Don't buy into that internet hype. It's just a fad and it'll die out soon.'"
~ Olaf Pijl, Freelance SEM Consultant
What is the worst piece of marketing advice you've gotten? Share in the comments below!