February 11, 2015

3 Ways To Never Be Wrong

One of the big problems with being a marketing expert is that deep down you know that you really don't know anything. If you knew something, you'd be rolling in money from all your marketing brilliance. It's that "those who can, do..." thing.

Most of the time it doesn't matter. You can get away with not knowing anything by talking in riddles, parables, and indecipherable jargon. For example, here are three points from an article I read recently:
  • "Notification windows introduce a thin layer for rapid engagement."
  • "The Internet of Things is a hot and beautiful mess until it becomes the Internet of Everything"
  • "Mass personalization and full funnel marketing suites reset vendor landscape and change how brands “think” and work."
Maybe there's something in there that means something, but I'll be fucked blind if I know what it is. Nonetheless, the article was read by hundreds of thousands of people who are apparently a lot smarter than I am. It received thousands of "thumbs ups"

I guess as long as you write stuff like that and avoid real English and saying anything specific you'll be fine. People, being the insecure dimwits that they are, assume that since you are an expert and they're not, all this hogwash must mean something.

The tough part comes when you have to say something in real English with real words and real meaning. Because, if you're a prototypical marketing genius, pretty much everything you say in real English with real words and real meaning that hasn't already been said a hundred times is going to turn out to be wrong.

Consequently, you need an effective strategy for dealing with those unfortunate times when you can't speak in nursery rhymes and have to actually say something.

Here are three effective strategies for being dead wrong, but maintaining your "expert" status.
  • "I wasn't wrong, I was ahead of my time." This is also known as the "just wait, you'll see" defense.
  • "Of course, I didn't mean it literally." You see, the philistines don't understand the subtleties of an allegory.
  • "It may seem like I was wrong, but if you look beyond..." This is the "broader view" defense and is sometimes known as "torturing the logic."
Fortunately, most people are too distracted by the fires that are burning to go back and see how wrong you were. But just in case you run into some pain-in-the-ass who is insistent on pointing out your imperfections, keep these three defenses in mind and you'll be just fine.


steakandcheese said...

Hi Bob, just saw this yesterday, I think you'll love it:

M said...

Every time I read something from Brian Solis, I'm further convinced he's a parody in disguise, a long con whose comedic owner will pull back the curtain and mock all the disciples. The real shame is that you could likely say the same about dozens of others in the digital marketing space.

Tony Mariani said...

Isn't there an expression, "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit?"

Bruno said...

There is a real Lero-Lero generator, but in portuguese here http://www.lerolero.com/ that generates texts that seem profound but don't have meaning at all...

Use something like this http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ and become a Marketing Genius ;)

TCWriter said...

What?! You left out the most-used "can't be wrong" defense of the last ten years: "You/They just don't get it."

Karl said...

I agree. He seems too bad to be true. His book title is abbreviated to 'WTF'. That might be a clue.

VinnyWarren said...

I once (unwittingly) had dinner at legendarily up-its-own-ass NYC
restaurant WD50. It sounded like a burger and beer place to me. Boy
was I wrong. "Dinner" consisted of what seemed like squirts of bird
shite on small plates. By dessert we were starving. So we had all four
desserts. The right out of central casting maitre d' asked what we
thought of the desserts. I said we liked three of them but the fourth
one, a banana based thing, was kind of meh. He replied "Yes, of
course. That one is slightly ahead of its time". We left and got a

Liza R D'Overlord said...

That's what you get for reading something on LinkedIn.

J Valentine said...

Interesting theory. The Emperor's new tailor. Plus, his name backwards is Silos.

Conor said...

I made the mistake of clicking on that link you referenced. Can I sue for brain damage?

Jeffrey Summers said...

Great video...great info...why doesn't someone from each country do the same math?

Jeffrey Summers said...

I love you Bob.

Jim said...

one of the UKs most respected social media agencies.- 'Ultimately, brands need to be turning their attention to social CRM. Joining the dots between social audiences and all customer connections. It is not an easy process and it will be an evolution of systems and processes. However, in moving towards a customer centric view, the commercial impact of social initiatives become clearer.' Yeah crystal.

Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd said...

And then there's this one . . .

"There is no 'right' or 'wrong'. There are only perspectives and the best we can have is a partial perspective."

But on second thought, that looks more like an embellishment on #3 on your list. It is the path of taking people down the "You Are Not So Smart" path of cognitive biases and such.

I just recently finished the book, "Think Like A Freak" - the third in the Freak-a-nomics series - and one of the most important lessons they believe will make you a better thinker is being free to say, "I don't know."

When you can confidently do this, you stop shooting from the hip and making half ass decisions based on assumptions - the decisions that lead one to defending themselves in the first place.

The task of walking through life without being fucked blind by others, but more importantly, fucked blind by our own delusional bullshit, is the most important task we have before us.

Jeffrey Summers said...


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royAB said...

'The Emperor's new tailor.'