The Digi-art of Stating The Bleeding Obvious with Infographics…

I’m not sure what afflicts so many alleged digi-experts, that they constantly state the bleeding obvious.

Maybe it’s because so few study marketing history? Maybe it’s because they believe that because something is new to them, it is new to the world. Though many are convinced they are experts just because of their job title. It’s like saying you can become a brain surgeon by hanging around the casualty ward.

I’m not sure about you, but I always thought that given the purpose of marketing is to create and keep customers profitably, most marketing activity is designed to attract customers to you. For some reason, marketing 101 is now called “inbound marketing” and is different to “outbound marketing”. They’re getting desperate aren’t they? Is there a “roundabout marketing” for those who are not yet inbound or outbound?

marketing for those who aren't yet inbound or outbound
marketing for those who aren’t yet inbound or outbound

Reminds one of the saying, there are only three types of people – those who can count and those who can’t.

Even worse is the regular assumption that suddenly because of the interweb, people no longer trust advertising as much as they trust editorial, or testimonials, or consumer reviews, or other content that doesn’t appear in a paid media spot.

Let’s be clear here. For at least half a century research has revealed that people trust referrals from colleagues, or editorials, critics reviews (for example movie reviews in newspapers) more than they trust paid advertising. This element of trust in third party content is not new. It’s one of the reasons public relations organisations have existed – to get content published in third party media on behalf of their clients.

Whenever I ask my audiences “what is the best lead you can get?” they always answer “a referred lead”. A referral has always been the best value lead in every industry category no matter how you get the referral. Yet when I ask those same audiences “how many of you are running referral programmes” less than 5% claim to be.

If all you did tomorrow was start a referral programme, your business would grow, whether the programme was analogue or digital, inbound or outbound, with or without paid or unpaid content. Phew.

So it was with some despair a friend of mine in the UK, Michael Rhodes, sent me this infographic last night. Lots of platitudes but not a lot of facts. And it infuriated him so much he created a Facebook page called STBO – Stating The Bleeding Obvious – where people can load examples of same. Please load your STBO stories. Shows you how easy it is to create online content:)

But to the infographic – click on it to enlarge.


For as long as I’ve worked in marketing, I or my clients have published booklets, articles, white papers, case studies, newsletters, videos and knowledge transfer sessions – and since the interweb, blogs. Prior to the interweb these were printed either in business or trade press, broadcast on TV or at seminars, or published privately.

They were then mailed or handed to customers and prospects. We even published booklets of our articles and press coverage and then distributed them to the market. So it’s good to see the infographic claiming you need to publish these long-proven things – albeit online.

But does anyone know or understand what this statement means? “While traditional forms of marketing may still be effective, the evolution of these verticals has fostered a more efficient and more profitable model for business.” Apart from not making any sense, it seems to be implying that marketers should stop doing what has always worked and start doing things that are yet to be proven. Would you risk your business like that?

What lunatic thinks that channels that have always worked, no longer work, just because a few new digital channels have been created?

The subhead: “Your customers prefer online information” is just dishonest and smacks of self-inteerst. Prefer online information compared to what? Sure I prefer online information to breaking my leg. There is no support to the claim, apart from percentages that have been consistent since the 1950’s.

Customers prefer relevant information, whether it’s delivered online or offline. I cannot tell you the number of requests I get for hard copies of my publications for executives to read and distribute to their staff. In a couple of weeks, hundreds of Australian executives who are attending my digital marketing breakfasts, will be given a 48 page book as a premium. I don’t expect to receive complaints that they would prefer to receive it as a blog?

Most of the claims on the infographic are just spurious statements:”customers who receive email marketing spend 83% more when shopping”. 83% more than what? I’m going to cancel my bride’s email account – she’ll send us broke.

The problem with many of the content marketing bandwagon-jumpers, is that most are simply typists with business cards. They are not trained journalists or copywriters. They’ve never sold anything directly as a result of the words they’ve written. Well maybe they’ve sold “how to get rich quick with content marketing” schemes?

They rely on spell-checker to do their thinking for them. They don’t proofread. The dead give-away about their craft skills in this infographic, is located in the claim about SlideShare. According to these content marketing experts, SlideShare is in the cruise business. The infographic states: “SlideShare boats 60 million visitors a month”. P&O better watch out.

It’s amateur stuff like this that inspired John Hancock to establish The Copy Mentor. (I declare self-interest here). This service ensures your copy is persuasive and grammatically correct and doesn’t insult your audience.

I tend to trust third parties that don’t have self-interest at heart. eMarketer for example published this research a couple of years ago. It revealed how few people actually trust online content, particularly when posted by friends and brands they like:

very few people trust online content
very few people trust online content

But I see an opportunity. I’m going to trademark a whole new range of terms to replace infographic – eg scamographic; BSographic; bandwagonographic; selfinterestographic; suckerborndailyographic – the possibilities are endless. Trust me – I work in marketing and create content:)

Can you spot the typo?


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