The first rule of marketing involves getting out of your own way.

It’s somewhat ironic. Professional marketers need to be rigorously disciplined about how they market themselves. But they rarely are.

Perhaps it’s no surprise in our age of celebrity that marketers, like many people, instinctively think that turning themselves into icons is the quickest route to success and respect.

The fact that for some, this notion may even have delivered results is in equal parts alarming and disappointing and speak to the lack of discernment of the audience. Thus, I ask “even if it has yielded temporary recognition”, for how long? A naked Emperor is naked, after all.

The Internet has succeeded in nothing if not the provision of multiple platforms that enable the many egotists among us to make spectacles of themselves.  And, given their professional predispositions, marketers (promoters by nature) have not been slow to take advantage. Too many of them (us?) have behaved like idiots in search of a village.

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Thus, via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the rest, am I assaulted daily by the “look at me” ministrations of the second rate masquerading as the definitive influencers of my time. LinkedIn is particularly guilty in this respect. While I can just about forgive my dwindling count of actual friends (on Facebook) for occasionally behaving like fools and Twitter commits me to only 147 characters worth of dross, LinkedIn has become a Field of Dreams for every job seeker and rank self-marketing amateur, thus turning every layman with a high self opinion into Global CMO of his own brand.

And so I suffer daily at the hands of these marketing “ignorants” who think, for instance, that the use of the word “shit” in a professional forum is a clever attention-grabbing mechanism (it’s not. It just shows a very limited ability to express oneself persuasively.) And at the hands of others who believe that the constant exposition of ones own self-stated virtues is a tack capable of unlocking riches both financial and ideological.

That some prospective clients fall for this form of clap-trap (noise = influence is roughly the equation) and believe these self-elected spokespeople actually have something useful to say speaks only to the vapidity and absence of judgment that has come to the fore in the present era of commerce. 80% of my LinkedIn noise comes from 10% of my contacts, almost invariably the 10% with the fewest interesting things to say.

As marketers, we should think about that. Ultimately, what we do will meet the standards we impose on ourselves. For now, while we’re in a golden age of technological progress I fear that we are, sadly, in a dark age in terms of marketing and the media.

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