In an age of instant publication via blogs and tweets, where people spew the most inane thoughts without any filter whatsoever, it is not surprising that our "BS antennas" have become attuned to picking up anything with the slightest whiff of twaddle. Which is why it is so surprising that market consultant "fluffer-nutters" can still succeed in this market?
Recently, I interviewed several marketing consultants for a project related to a new product rollout. All the individuals I spoke with have a respectable online presence and, it is fair to say, a reputable brand name. While some were quite good, I got a fair share of BS as well. Here is an amalgam of several of the conversations.
I started with a background of the project, what we were looking to achieve, the project timeline, and the resources available to support our efforts; and then this ... .
Me: "So, I had a look at your blog and some of your articles; very impressive. How do you think you can help us with our project?"
Consultant: "Great question! Well, once we start blocking and tackling, we can start pumping out the content and in a few months we will be cooking."
Me: "Cooking? How does that work?"
Consultant: "Great question. It's easy. First we go to the playbook and pick out the tastiest nuggets. Then we hone in and laser-focus on the task at hand. Once we tee up the content, we can push it out, and voila."
Me: "I still don't understand how this works, can you explain?"
Consultant (getting a bit frustrated at my ignorance): "Say hey, it's really simple. We tee up the content and the content itself becomes the springboard of the program ... .."
Consultant: " ... and, once we secure the content, it becomes the control lubricant for the entire program!"
Me: "Control lubricant?"
Consultant (getting really excited now):"Yes! Once it is locked and loaded, we can step up to the plate. Done properly, we can hit a home run. Maybe even a grand slam!"
Me: "Home run? What do you consider a home run? I mean, how do we measure success?"
Consultant: "Great question. Once the buzz kicks in, you will feel the vibes."
Me (incredulous):"And you can do all this for us in 6-8 weeks, for the budget you quoted?"
Consultant: "You bet, the whole nine yards. And if you don't mind me tooting my own horn, you really want to work with the best, not one of those online fluff consultant wannabees."
Me: "Absolutely. So, what is your availability?"
Consultant: "Great question. Next week, I will be offline; I am going off the grid for a week or so, heh, heh, heh, but after that I will be back in the saddle, ready to rock and roll."
Me (getting into the swing of things): "Awesome, so, why don't we rally the troops, kick this around a bit, and then circle back in about two weeks? Does that work?"
Consultant: "Sure does. Thanks. I look forward to working with you; always great to work with real professionals."
Unfortunately, this conversation wasn't as exaggerated as you might think. Moral of the story — marketing is about having a clear message, and speaking to your target audience in a language that is engaging and relevant. Do that, and leave the BS at home. For a good article on BS-detection, check out: Scott Berkun's humorous, "How to detect bulls***".