Defining Marketing’s Golden Rule


It's hard to get excited sometimes about new marketing ideas. And bear in mind, I'm as much of a marketing nerd as all of y'all. I love a clever commercial or social campaign. I hate a hastily conceived ploy that doesn't seem well-targeted.

But can I get a promise from all of you that none of use will talk about new marketing ideas until we all abide by the marketer's golden rule?

What, you don't know the marketer's golden rule? In the same way we should treat someone the way we want to be treated, we should market to others in the same way we would want to be marketed to.

Still unclear? How about this. Do you like auto DMs in Twitter? Of course you don't. Have you ever set up an auto DM in Twitter? Even if it was for someone else? 

What about product pages with a keyboard's worth of content that never actually says anything? What about FAQs that answer questions no one has ever asked? What about the email that has an offer that is negated in the fine print? What about making the logo bigger? Or the commercial louder? 

If it's something you hate as a human being having to deal with, why on earth are you forcing other people to deal with it, then?

Now, many of us have an excuse. The client demanded it. And since we all have iPhone bills to pay, we do what the client asks of us. But it is our duty as good people of Earth to try and talk the client down from being such jerks. We need to explain that if it annoys the client, why wouldn't it annoy the customer?

At the very least, you need to subscribe the client to their own spam lists and give them a taste of their own junk marketing.

There is a special place in hell reserved for the marketer who says to themself, "While I myself hate spammy emails, I will send these out on behalf of my client because I'm not on this particular mailing list." I'm pretty it's a room where you have to watch Billy Mays and that Crazy Eddie guy try and sell each other bullhorns. It's down the hall for the room for people who invented the "same great product, now in a different package!" call-out.

So, lets all agree today to abide by the marketer's golden rule before we start thinking of the best use of the latest channel or toy. Can't we have a little civilization?

James Ellis is a Chicago-area digital strategist with Google Analytics certification. That said, he still has dreams where he wears sun god robes and people throw little pickles at him. You can get in touch with James at to tell him how many ways he's wrong.

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