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There are right and wrong ways to go about marketing, and the pitfalls are many. A lot can be learned by seeing how not to manage your marketing. This original blog series weaves together an entertaining story that will help you navigate 21st-Century marketing with a view from “the dark side,” as “Screwtape” teaches his apprentice “Wormwood” via email how to sabotage your marketing. Enjoy…

To: Wormwood
From: Screwtape
Subject: Why We Love “Good Enough”

My dear Wormwood,

Our mission to destroy the success of the aspiring businessperson continues, as do your lessons on the most effective tactics. I call this next one the “Good Enough Deception.”

You see, my dear Wormwood, to many, marketing is akin to going to the dentist—painful but necessary. Many a CEO winces at the marketing budget line item because they see marketing as a “soft” area of operations. Creativity, to them is “fluff”; operations and finances are the important things. So, when it comes to getting their marketing done, they are only interested in good enough to get by. They don’t get it, and that give our cause a real boost!

The following are some ways we can use the Good Enough Deception to hasten your Patient’s downfall:

  • Cut off creativity: In today’s “attention economy,” being different and radically creative to stand apart from all the other competitive voices is crucial. But convince your patient that creative strategy is a waste of time. Have him cut short the creative process and stifle creativity with the CEO’s get-to-the point view of life. (Skip the gift wrapping, the card and flowers. How romantic.)
  • Give impossible deadlines: Have the Patient want it, and want it now. That will ensure that the creative “right brain”—from whence comes the level of creativity that catapults brands and sells out products—has no chance to develop true brilliance. The left brain sucks at creativity, and unrealistic deadlines put it in the driver’s seat to Mediocrity City.
  • Hire Low: Advertising legend David Ogilvy gave this advice: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” Tempt your Patient into the disastrous decision to hire based on cost, rather than quality. Why get a senior marketing professional, when you can hand the work off to an amateur, a family member, or even a student.
  • Micromanage: Ogilvy also said to, “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” True creatives worth their salt do best with a long leash, so convince your patient to control the process. It will feel like the safe thing to do, but of course it’s the worst way to manage.

I could go on, and perhaps we will discuss more tactics in the future. But we can sum up the beauty of the Good Enough Deception with one simple sentence: “We got our marketing done.”

You and I know, Wormwood, that marketing is never “done,” but let’s just keep that our little secret, shall we?

Your affectionate uncle,


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