Playing For The Wrong Team

Every now and then I see something in the world of marketing online that makes me laugh.  The one I’m thinking of today happened about six months ago and it involved a book launch.  The guy with the new book has a pretty substantial following and he worked his audience hard to get them to buy his book on Amazon.

The funny part was how he was treating his audience.  He was positioning his messaging to give his audience the responsibility for getting him to the #1 bestseller spot in his Kindle category.

“We can do this!  We’re almost at #1.”

“If you’ve already bought then buy a couple for your friends and gift them because we’re so close to reaching the top spot.”

“You guys are so close, just another big push and we’ll get there!”

I’m sitting there thinking, “Who’s this ‘we’, this clown keeps talking about?  It’s not my book.”

The best part was when he finally managed to convince his audience to buy enough multiple copies of his book to reach the #1 spot, he wrote on Facebook:

“I’m so humbled to reach the bestseller spot in the Business Category – I’ve worked hard for this for a long time and this goes to show that when you put yourself into something fully, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

Let me put that into context for you – he told his audience to do the work to get his book to #1 and then when it did, he took all the credit and never once thanked them for buying.

It was so disgusting it was laughable.  I’d call it manipulative but it was so bloody stupid that it’s hard to imagine someone sat there thinking, “OMG! I have to buy more copies of a book I’ve already bought because we need to get it to #1!”

Well, at least that what you’d think about normal human.  The comments on his Facebook posts were almost unanimously people writing crap like:

“Yeah! We can do this!”

“I just bought everyone in my book club a copy – all 16 of them. #TopOfTheCharts”

“We’re crushing it – we so deserve this!”

It was like the online marketing version of “Stockholm Syndrome”.  This character had convinced these people that they were “in this together” and that they were all part of his launch team.  Seriously, their lives must be so empty that they’ll take any success, no matter how vicarious or how silly and call it their own.

My Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter subscribers are not on my team.  If anything, I’m on their team – I’m here to serve and help them.  The very idea that I’d send out some kind of ridiculous email telling them to buy something of mine multiple times so that I could achieve some relatively meaningless result is so far away from my thought process that I struggle to comprehend it.

I suppose that’s why I find it funny.  The ego required to do this is so big it probably has it’s own gravitational field.  It’s not like he was going to share the money with his subscribers either.  The Hopium that this guy was peddling was obviously some of purest stuff ever produced.

I could never treat people like this.  It’s just not in my genetic makeup.  The idea that you could prey on people so aggressively for selfish reasons is something I find nauseating.  And to be so manipulative, yuck.

The lesson here is that your clients and customers (the ones who buy stuff from you and pay you money) are there to be served, they don’t work for you and they’re not wallets with feet.  Stop putting your requirements ahead of theirs.

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