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13 Deadly Sins Of Internet Marketing – Sin No 5
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13 Deadly Sins of Internet Marketing

Gluttony (sin 5 of 13): You can't be everything to everyone; so choose carefully the things you want to sell or promote and stick by them!

There is a curious relationship between classical theological gluttony and lust: they are both evidence of surrender to overindulgence of the senses. And they both evoke images of intemperance, of not doing things in moderation. Indeed, a common consequence of both is a distinct and long-standing "corruption of body and soul". Before you scream, "What's this got to do with internet marketing (IM)? After all, this is no discussion on theology or morality!", I'll draw the following striking parallels.

Classical gluttony arises out of an inability to choose only the kinds and amounts of food one needs; this inability is usually not due to ignorance but to "a weakness of moral fibre" (following the theological argument). Notwithstanding the cause(s) of classical gluttony, the consequence is the same, as stated above. By comparison, IM gluttony is seen where the marketer is distinctly unable (or unwilling) to work only within a niche or small defined and consistent number of niches. The result is an inevitable bloating of the offerings of the IM'er, with a consequent blunting of the business's market performance. In addition, it is not hard to see that this represents a weak(ened) underlying vision / philosophy of the IM venture. As for longevity and profitability, the business afflicted with gluttony basically positions itself very badly for survival; it runs a real risk of a slow, agonizing death!

My real point is ably expressed by Bill Cosby: "I don't know the key to success. But the key to failure is to try to please everybody."

I can't help noting that in one's mind's eye, the picture of an IM glutton keeps getting supplanted by that of a real-life prostitute, i.e. someone who makes it their vocation to satisfy everyone that comes along, but whom no one trusts nor relies upon. Maybe medieval theologians and philosophers had a point after all, when they made the link between gluttony and lust...

The causes of IM gluttony

  1. The assumption, perhaps even belief that by dealing in / selling all things to all people, visitors to one's stall / shop / web site will surely find something attractive enough for them to buy. The attractiveness of the simple logic of this thinking is almost narcotic in its effect. The IM'er gets sucked into a spiral of building or producing so many varied products and services that they hardly have time (or energy) to properly market the offerings already existing in their portfolio.

    I know from personal experience how expensive, time-consuming and ultimately futile this way of doing business is. And it is exceedingly difficult to break out of. Well, it won't be narcotic if it didn't have a hook, and weaning yourself off it is easier said than done! But believe me, you're better off without it, as with any other "addiction".

  2. Succumbing to the temptations offered by other established internet marketers in their advertisements. The problem is not the products or their advertisements; it is the fact of indiscriminately buying into every product, service or program launched. The underlying issue is an ultimately lethal mixture of intellectual laziness (to tease apart reality from hype, truth from fiction) that prevents one from adequately researching every offering, and a credulous mindset. It's almost as if the IM'er buys into any proposition, simply because it's being touted out there (much like "as seen on TV" or "it was in Time magazine" or "I read it in the newspaper").

    I will make a further observation which is very provocative, and I fully expect many people to hop up and down with real or imagined offence: there is a certain intellectual promiscuity involved here that may well be a contributory factor. The same sort of mental processes that makes some in the wider society more inclined to patronize workers in red light districts. Not surprising really, since our deep-seated tendencies determine and shape our outward actions in all situations, and some of those actions in a "perfect storm" of situations will be things we may not necessary approve or be proud of.

What you can do about IM gluttony or prevent it

  1. As part of your planning before starting the IM venture, decide the 5 main Ws of your business: Who you want to sell to, What you want to sell, Where you want sell, When / Where you want to run your ad promotions and How you want to manage your customer relationships. Without your detailed plan, you really do risk having a major problem with IM gluttony, as you may end up being blown hither and thither by the winds of seductive advertising.
  2. Keep a clear and concise vision of your IM business in mind at all times, to make discrimination between competing opportunities quick, easy and effective.
  3. On a regular (e.g. annual) basis, review how the different parts of your IM business hang together, how they synergise with each other and contribute towards achieving your IM vision. The activities or programs that are not adding value (directly or indirectly) or contributing to your overall business vision, should be moth-balled forthwith. Emotions should not have much to do with this, otherwise you'll permanently dilute your offerings and end up struggling to acquire or retain the trust of your potential customers.

Next discussion: Sloth (sin 6 of 13): A stitch in time saves nine.

The doctor will see you now…

Dr Fatai Badmus


Street Talk

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