Posts Tagged ‘integrity’
For quite a while now I've been among those warning that the wild-wild-West days of internet marketing were drawing to a close.
With Google's recent Panda updates, I am feeling somewhat vindicated.
The Panda updates have hit many IM sites very hard.
Of course, a lot more than Panda has been going on lately:
- AdWords has canceled the PPC accounts of thousands;
- PayPal has closed many IM-ers' accounts;
- Other payment processors are about to disallow IM vendors;
- Clickbank has recently de-listed hundreds of IM products;
- YouTube has dumped thousands of make-money-online videos;
- Amazon has pretty much ended PLR ebooks being sold on Kindle;
- Sales of IM-related products are down, refunds are up.
Am I okay with all these changes? Not exactly. But I do understand that this is what happens when some "opportunists" misbehave.
It is this way in all walks of society it seems. Because some abuse the system, everyone has to pay the price. It's not fair. It's not just. But it is the way things are.
The only thing we "good guys" can do about it is to work that much harder and hold ourselves to higher and higher standards.
As the old saying goes, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."
So . . . are you ready to offer more value to real people? Are you ready to care even more about the quality of what you teach, what you sell, and about the quality of your web sites, pages and posts?
No? Then rest in peace with the dinosaurs. They couldn't adapt either.
Yes? Then welcome to the post-Panda, post-wild-wild-West internet marketing world. Time for everyone to grow up.
Hello again. Sorry about the long hiatus in terms of this blog. I've been very busy, of course. Also, I've been battling illness and care-taking responsibilities.
My sincere apology for not updating this blog sooner, but I don't like outsourcing it and sometimes my life stuff just gets in the way.
Anyway, if you follow this blog, thanks for your patience, and I hope you will find that what I am about to recommend to you is well worth the wait.
If you are just starting your online business venture or if you feel your business effort has been going off track lately, I'd like to recommend something 'holistic' in terms of building your business the right way.
(I just wish something this good had been available when I was starting out.)
So here it is:
- Michael Christon's Personal Fulfillment Machine
This is not a script or plug-in or marketing robot or tool or marketing course.
Yes, those can be valuable in the right context.
This is something very, very special.
But first, a little background.
I have listened to and viewed various success and motivational programs over the years. As a result, every now and again I've been prompted to do a little brainstorming about where I'm trying to go and why.
It's always been a kind of re-envisioning, and it has often been just after these brief interludes that I've been my most creative, productive and fulfilled.
Knowing from my own experience how helpful I've found such opportunities, I was understandably …
Well, I don't know how to say this without it sounding hyped, but I was very "excited," or "wowed" or "impressed," or something that sounds a little bit over the top like that, to discover Michael Christon's Personal Fulfillment Machine training.
If you've sampled the combined works of various motivational and business thinkers as I have, old and new, e.g., Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, etc., then you may think you've already heard much of what Michael has to say.
I pretty much felt that way myself at first. So why am I now so excited about this?
Because Michael has a compelling talent for presenting the information, old insights and new — a way that offers new perspectives, eliminates the extraneous, and systemizes and explains the essentials of how to build a more fulfilling life and business.
I feel as if he has burned away the fat, leaving only the condensed, concentrated, lean, mean, and useful behind — yet he has also kept the information palatable and easily accessible.
And there is nothing cookie cutter about Michael's approach either.
He teaches a methodology — a manner of thinking and of structuring your thinking about yourself, your life, your values, your goals — that allows you to create your own custom template that can help you build your ideal, and very personal, future.
I've been through the course, and I know it's worth going through again and again.
I believe you, too, will agree it is going to be helpful to contemplate, again and again, what Michael has to say.
Frankly, most of us need that kind of repetition to really "get it" (whether we will admit it or not). By following — more closely each day — what Michael has to say, I am certain any of us would be better able to align our business goals with our values and have a much more fulfilling life and a more successful business.
Because I believe the bottom line is that that is what we all want, I'm recommending PFM to you. And because:
- I believe it's for those just starting out.
- I also believe it's for those who need to get their business and life back on track.
- Actually, I can't think of anyone in business, or anyone hoping to start a business, who this training couldn't benefit.
Briefly, here are just a few of the questions and considerations you will be exposed to when you decide to take a journey toward your Personal Fulfillment Machine with Michael Christon:
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
- How are you going to get there and are you 100% sure you want to?
- Moment of truth: how's your mental, physical and spiritual health? Are you achieving soul-destroying success?
- What's your 'bucket list?'
- How to have something exceptional in your life and in your business.
- How can understanding yourself and your values make your business effort easier and more profitable?
- How your business can become your personal fulfillment machine and why it's absolutely imperative that it should be.
- Your life's blueprint: using imagination and visualization, coupled with your values, to "walk around" your life's blueprint, and why doing so can empower your life and your business.
- Why is becoming richer in every other way ultimately more valuable than becoming financially rich, and why the former makes the latter that much more possible and satisfying?
- Purpose and structure: why becoming uncommonly successful has so much to do with ways of thinking that may seem initially to have virtually nothing to do with your desire for success.
- How to break the impossible down into the possible.
- How to supercharge your business's mission statement, and why you must.
Far too many start businesses without a clue. They know not where they are going nor how to get there. Michael reminds us that starting a business is about far more than just making money or being your own boss. This kind of training — this kind of thinking — is far too often neglected, yet it is by far the most important. I cannot recall having ever recommended anything more potentially valuable than Michael's Personal Fulfillment Machine.
This is the stuff that our dreams are made of.
Trust me, this will inspire you today and, applied, it will have an enormously positive impact on your life and business for decades to come:
Michael Christon's Personal Fulfillment Machine
Thank you for your time and for considering my recommendation.
To your success!,
Richard D. Farley / MythoSpheres Development
Okay, I have about a million irons in the fire right now, and my mother just recently went into a nursing home and, well, let me just say that it’s been an enormously time-consuming affair as well…
So I guess what I’m saying is that everything’s been getting in the way, lately, of me saying what I wanted to say, or as soon as I intended to say it. So let me apologize in advance for any omissions or mistakes and just get on with it and say it (I promise when I have time, I’ll come back and correct or add to things later if needed).
First off, I firmly believe that the days of easy money by hook and crook on the internet are drawing to a close and that many of this type of marketer are about to run into a huge brick wall, and I’m about to tell you just a couple of reasons why (there are many).
But before I do that, as previously promised, let me quickly list just some of what we all can do in terms of building our reputations as marketers with integrity, and at the close, I’ll give you my take on why all of this is so very important to understand, and especially now:
A few steps toward building the reputation:
- Be transparent with our customers about the fact that it is impossible for us to know what their needs may be and make it crystal clear in our communications who our intended target for any given communication is;
- Encourage two-way communication, via email or Skype or otherwise, or by using polls and surveys if nothing else;
- Disclose all potential conflicts of interest, i.e., if we, or members of our family, or our friends or others we do frequent business with, stand to profit in any way by the sale of a product, a recommendation, any advice we offer, etc., we have an obligation to let our customers know that, and not just in our terms of service, but in our ongoing communications. (The whole conflict of interest concern virtually disappeared in recent years, but I’m betting it’s going to make a big come back sometime soon — and quite possibly beyond anything the FCC or any other government agency may require; in other words, many consumers are getting increasingly sick of being suckered and misled and many are becoming increasingly sophisticated as well.)
- When possible, educate our customers and suggest resources and opportunities for them to educate themselves. When it’s not possible, encourage them to assess their own knowledge, skills, experience, or situation — personal or professional — so that they may better determine whether or not what we have to offer is appropriate to their needs; and,
- Be sure we are creating and promoting only the best products we know to be available. Or if that is not the case, be absolutely clear as to why we are promoting this particular product or service if it is not the best we know to be available, i.e., best value for the money, product is better supported, better documented, has greater potential for the future, is more compatible, is better for newbies, is more aesthetically pleasing or attractive, etc.
On the last point, I want to say a little more.
Of course I work for my own company and make these decisions myself. Those who work for “the other guy” and are promoting that company’s products may find this more difficult, but it is of utmost importance to promote only the best products we know to be available.
If we truly believe in the benefits of a product, then there is nothing dishonest about telling our customers this and our sincerity and enthusiasm and integrity will show through — all great selling points. We will be more successful, and we will sleep well at night. But if we don’t believe very much in a product we’re promoting and try to fake it, not only are we not serving our customers, we are not being true to ourselves.
If you are selling a product or service you don’t believe in, my advice is to get out as soon as you can. The world is full of better opportunities.
Why it matters, and why more now than ever:
Finally, as promised, why do I believe it is so important to understand this and that there has never been a better time to understand it than now?
The reasons are the most important points of these last few posts:
One way or another, social media represents (among other things) an attempt on the part of increasingly sophisticated consumers to move back to the more personal “word of mouth” approach to discovering valuable information, entertainment, products, services, etc. Marketers are essentially mucking this up, and not just the black hatters, and I guarantee consumers will simply keep fighting back, harder and harder in the coming years.
Most people in my experience really do not prefer doing business anonymously and without recommendation from other individuals they have grown to trust (e.g., via a search engine, some random stranger’s link on a forum, etc.); it is just that, until recently, that was one of the better ways of locating value and information on the internet.
Human nature is what it is, and most of the history of marketing, offline as well as online, suggests that most consumers will continue to strive toward a means by which to establish and maintain the more personal “word of mouth” approach.
The end may not be here yet, but the wild west days of internet marketing are diminishing, and we are seeing a return, or at least a longing on the part of consumers to return, to the paradigm of the old, local shopkeeper everybody knew and trusted.
Marketers who understand this can be one of those trusted sources if we go about our business now in the right manner.
Just as importantly, more importantly even, it is good for us, as human beings, individually and collectively, not to take advantage of one another or act in ways that hurt others or benefit only ourselves, or in other ways that are out of harmony with our higher natures.
Nearly all of us have, at one time or another, fallen into the trap of believing we can fool ourselves or others with rationalizations, and sometimes we can for a while, but there is always a severe price to pay because our emotional make-up, our unconscious, or conscience if you will, isn’t fooled by such rationalizations. The long experience of humanity strongly suggests that such attempts to “get away with” practices we do not believe in, whether or not they adversely affect our business, will almost certainly have adverse effects on our health, our outlook on life, our self-esteem, our relationships with others and our spirits.
Of course, as marketers, and more simply, just as human beings — excepting perhaps a cloistered, ascetic monk or two — we will all continue to make mistakes in judgment, or otherwise, from time to time.
When that happens, or when we become aware that it is happening, we should apologize and make reparations if appropriate. Then we should correct course and allow ourselves to move on.
Because it is always better in the long run to understand and act increasingly in accordance with our values and our emotions than it is to listen to intellectualizations that are designed to simply help us make more money.
And though I hate to end this post so abruptly, and with so little polish, I’m out of time, so that’s it for now. Rushed as this was, I hope you found something here worthwhile. I’ll try to add more thoughts and resources when my life smooths out a bit. Thanks for visiting, and sign up to my list if you like.
To your success!,
Richard D. Farley / MythoSpheres Development
Hi. Yes — all sorts of unexpected troubles — but I’m back.
I want to begin by letting you know that since my initial foray into this subject (Is Honest Marketing An Oxymoron?), I’ve done a lot of listening, a lot of reading and a fair bit of thinking. And I believe I’ve not only reminded myself of some various understandings I’d nearly forgotten, but have become aware of a few new nuances as well.
Now, with your permission, I’d like to share some of it with you.
So let’s dive right in:
What is all this outcry about a lack of honesty in internet marketing anyway? What’s it about? Why do so many marketers say they are being honest while so many consumers say they are not? Are internet marketers simply crooks? Are consumers simply whiners with unrealistic expectations?
Well, there’s no doubt in my mind that the above posits explain some of it, i.e., some marketers are crooks and some consumers are never satisfied. But as I suggested in a recent post, maybe honesty per se isn’t what the complaints are really all about.
Hopefully I established to your satisfaction in my ‘Dream On‘ post that what people actually buy is a feeling, not a product or service. So if you accept that that is true, then what is it about selling a feeling that can be construed as honest or dishonest?
But wait, rather than address that question directly, let me encourage you to draw your own conclusion as I meander toward some understandings that I hope all, or most, of us can agree on.
Let me begin by establishing a few facts:
First fact — we are all marketers. It’s true. Pretty much every person on the planet is a marketer in one sense or another. When you flirt, you are marketing yourself. When you go out on a first date, when you go on a job interview, when you ask someone to marry you, even when you try to convince someone else that your religious beliefs are where it’s really at — in one sense or another, that is all marketing.
In all cases you are promoting something. You’re promoting yourself or your sex appeal or your personality or your skills and can-do attitude, or maybe even what you consider to be the ultimate cosmic truth.
And in all cases, are you convinced you are being 100% honest?
When you flirt, do you make sure the person you’re flirting with knows that sometimes you can be a clueless klutz?
When you go out on a first date, do you make sure the person you’re dating knows your last relationship ended badly because you got a little too selfish? Or because you exhibited very poor judgment by letting yourself get into a wrong-for-you relationship in the first place?
And when you go on a job interview, do you tell the interviewer about all the things you can’t do well and have failed at?
And how about we just wisely omit any queries regarding the marriage and religious examples for now… ?
The point is, unless you’re a very unusual and socially dysfunctional person, I would guess the answer to all of the above questions (or some similar set of questions in the same spirit that would be more appropriate to you) is “No,” and if that’s the case, are you still convinced you are being 100% honest?
Okay, then, second fact — we’re all dishonest marketers…
Whoa!, now wait a second, sometimes our behavior is designed to spare the feelings of others or to avoid conflict or avoid doing harm to others or ourselves, and after all we’re just “putting our best foot forward” and … even for the sticklers, isn’t it a little much to find fault with that? And besides, there’s a big difference between being dishonest and withholding certain information, right?
Well, yes and no. It does depend on the context. How integral is the information? Does the information you are withholding better define what you are marketing than the information you are disclosing? Or another way to put it, in terms of flirting: are you a clueless klutz 2% of the time or 98% of the time?
If it’s 98% of the time, that is integral information, my friend (if you’ve ever been on a date with someone who is a clueless klutz 98% of the time, you know this!), and if you are withholding that kind of information, you are not marketing with very much integrity. Ah, but if it’s only 2%, well I think we might just let that go… that is, as long as you’re cool and slinky and sexy the rest of the time…
So what I’m getting at — what I said before, is that honest marketing may actually be the wrong terminology; what customers want is marketing with integrity.
So what does that mean, exactly?
Is my meandering starting to make sense?
If you think so, then this is one of the distinctions, or tenets if you will, of marketing with integrity: consumers — all of us really — expect the promotional information divulged about a product or service to better define that product or service, by far, than any information that is not being divulged.
But that’s just one of the distinctions.
As I see it, there are actually four basic distinctions that define marketing with integrity:
- you have made a sincere attempt to inform yourself about the product or service before recommending and promoting it;
- what is revealed in your promotional material is essentially true to the best of your knowledge;
- what is being said in your promotions (already mentioned) better defines the product or service, by far, than what is not being said;
- you are, in good faith and to the best of your understanding, promoting to your customers only those products and services you know to be appropriate to their needs.
Customers really are not expecting some rigid, pedantic standard of honesty; well, most of them aren’t. You are after all trying to sell something, and customers know this and even, on some level, want to be sold. Nevertheless, if you want to build a reputation for being “honest” — or better, being a marketer with integrity — the bar is still fairly high.
What most of your customers really want is to know that a), you actually know what you are selling; b), you are being essentially truthful about what you know; c), you are not withholding vital, game-changing information that they, as potential buyers, need to know to make an appropriate decision; and d), you are not using your selling skills and strategies to sell them trash or something completely inappropriate to their needs.
Most of this is completely within your ability and under your control, so much of it is really up to you. It takes some effort and can be time- and energy-consuming sometimes, but you want to do this work to build your reputation and be of real service to your customers. It is what anyone who is in this or any other business for the long term should be trying to do.
So… let’s assume we all want that reputation, and so we can and do inform ourselves about the products and services we’re selling, and we do speak the essential truth that best defines those products and services, and we don’t sell trash…
(I hope I am correct in assuming no one who has read this far wants to sell trash. I will assume this as my conviction is that most of those guys wouldn’t take the time to read a post of this length, and certainly not on this subject.)
So… inform self, speak essential truth that best defines, and no trash… But wait, that still leaves the inappropriate-to-their-needs portion, and that is a tall order.
How do you know that what you are selling is appropriate to any particular customer’s needs? Well, you really don’t. To some extent, you can try to get to know your customers, but it’s unlikely you can get to know them all — especially as an internet marketer.
So as internet marketers, since it is impossible to know what all our customers’ needs are, we’re all doomed to sell with a deficient degree of integrity even if we’d prefer to do better, right?
Right. Er, no. Not right. Not exactly.
There are some essential things we all can do — even as internet marketers with massive lists — to establish and maintain a high degree of integrity in our marketing practices.
I’ll talk about some of them in my next post.
I also hope to talk about why it is all important that you understand these distinctions and why there has never been a better time to understand them than now.
Thank you for your attention, and I hope you’ll consider signing up to my list before you go.
To your success!,
Richard D. Farley
I’d intended to post something more, ‘ere now, on the subject of honesty in marketing.
It wasn’t my intention to simply leave it where I left it. In fact, in case you couldn’t tell, I actually had a strategy, or triad of posts, in mind when I began with the question ‘Is Honest Marketing An Oxymoron’ and then confirmed that it is. But I’ve been writing all my posts here myself, and some family health matters have come up that have delayed the intended third post.
Yes, I could have hired it out, but it’s just not my wont these days.
So… I’m just posting this as a notice that I still intend a few more words on this subject, as I believe where the confusion lies is that honest marketing may actually be the wrong terminology, and not exactly what customers are looking for anyway.
What your customers and my customers want — and what we all want as consumers — is marketing with integrity.
So if you’re not sure why I’m making that distinction, what I mean by it, what the difference is, or why it’s important to understand, I hope you’ll stay tuned and check the blog again sometime soon.