The time has come. I’ve been biting my tongue for a long time on this one, but I’ve been inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk to deliver the truth, as cold and as hard as it may seem. A past article on why B2B marketers set the gold standard was my initial foray into this topic, but the message didn’t get fully delivered the way I envisioned after the article started taking a slightly different turn as it was written.
We’ve entered the age of the FURU – that’s right, the fake guru. If you look at who’s getting visibility and where on the web, you’ll quickly come to realize that we’ve started to give our attention to those who simply have the ability to sell shortcuts and dreams rather than the abilities to succeed as an entrepreneur or businessperson. As a result, we’ve ended up with a whole slew of people who’ve never actually built a business or helped a client grow, yet they put out subpar content that people flock to. No, this isn’t because I’m delusional and a bad judge of what constitutes “quality” content. This is simply happening as a result of FURU’s putting out material in higher frequency than what I’ll refer to as “real” marketers and business men and women.
You see, everyday there are thousands of well experienced, enterprise B2B marketers growing companies through sophisticated automation and CRM tools – think Marketo, Eloqua, and Salesforce. These people are are responsible for building and maintaining complex lead lifecycle models, but we rarely see much in the way of content produced by this group of people for one reason – they work full days in their offices and don’t prioritize the time necessary for putting this type of knowledge out into the public domain. However, what we do see are FURU’s selling overpriced informational products that teach you how to “double your revenue in 3 months” using our “proven and tested conversion funnel.” Which, by the way, really just comes down to the boilerplate advice of the following; Give some content away for free, then give some away via an opt-in form 0n a landing page, then take advantage of email marketing until they buy your shit. What a bummer for people who get sucked into those products, right? Ask a FURU if they’ve ever built any type of sophisticated lead scoring model, and they’ll give you a puzzled look. The reality is that these products are designed for the bottom 10%. You’ll never find the wonderful consultants at LeadMD or Bluewolf attracted to these types of offerings because they know better. All of that said, here’s an actual client example of a marketing/sales funnel. A bit different from what most are used to seeing in those info products, right?
FURU’s are easily identifiable in the ways that they market. The old adage is still true today – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Below are just some of these identifiable characteristics.
- Anyone promising you short term profits or markets themselves using sleazy sales tactics or messaging
- Promoting shortcuts to riches or extravagant dreams
- Their background and past accomplishments are hard to find. In their marketing, they take small accomplishments and embellish them to appear more grand than they actually were.
- Anyone telling you how much money they made without explaining step-by-step how it was done.
- People without original thoughts and simply rehash content from the web in an effort to gain an audience and sell their product.
- 99% of the products on Warrior Forum
I realize this is a condescending article to those who fall into the FURU bucket, but my words should be interpreted with a bit of satire. In reality, FURU’s are just uninformed and they themselves were simply looking for sources of income that don’t rely on anyone but themselves. As some who’s self employed, I can admire that. We must understand though, that these tactics attract the wrong people who aren’t fully prepared to make the sacrifices or put in the work required to make these types of strategies really work for them.
I’m afraid the people that know the most about digital marketing, marketing operations, or similar, are the ones that aren’t talking about it. We need a call to arms. I believe that it’s important to share your knowledge to collectively help everyone build upon their existing skill set. We are so much more advanced in the way we market but outside of the top 10% executing very effectively, nobody else sees how it’s done at that level and other businesses are at a disadvantage as a result. I encourage anyone who’s analyzed B2B marketing funnels, worked with long sales cycles, or has worked as part of a marketing operations or sales operations team to start producing more content that educates digital marketers on the strategies they can be taking advantage of. For as commoditized as content has become, we must collectively drown out the FURU presence with higher quality content that not only educates, but helps to build a more informed audience. If we can elevate the quality of content and education in this space, our businesses will surely benefit as a result.