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Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Are You a Marketing Weasel? Am I?

I just bought Predictably Irrational. I haven’t read it yet, but I had to buy it because I just read Jeff Atwood’s 9 Ways Marketing Weasels Will Try to Manipulate You on Coding Horror. Jeff relates his post and the nine ways to that book. Jeff says:

In fact, it’s already happening. Witness 10 Irrational Human Behaviors and How to Leverage Them to Improve Web Marketing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What the book talks about, according to these posts, is our craziness as consumers with pricing, supply and demand, and behaviors that don’t really make sense, but happen all the time.

And the conclusion, which makes Jeff Atwood uncomfortable, is the sense of “marketing weasels” manipulating us. Or, the less aggressive sense of it, how marketers can capitalize on consumers’ irrational behavior. I have trouble with all this, because it seems like really good stuff for running a business, but I don’t want to see a weasel when I look in the mirror.

5 responses to “Are You a Marketing Weasel? Am I?”

  1. Scopulus says:

    Go figure!!!

    The public dictate what the markets sell and how they sell. I hate all this. I like to be given the facts and then i can make up my own mind.

    But to many people rally don’t have a clue. But they will pay!!!

  2. Paul says:

    Sounds like a solid review of a book if I ever heard one. I can’t wait to read it now. Thanks and have a great week

  3. Tim, thanks for sharing this post. I would also like to commend Jonathan’s very insightful contribution to the discussion.

    In my own point of view, marketers could eventually become weasels if they go out of the “normal” tenets of marketing, such as constantly evolving quality and brand-wise to adapt to newer customer demands, as well as generally making marketing a competitively fair arena.

    Once you stagnate or apply foul tactics that can possibly throw off the competition without warning, then better watch out the next time you look in the mirror!

  4. Tim Berry says:

    Well said Jonathan, and it applies in a lot of contexts. It is weasels that are weasels, not marketing people. Agreed. Tim.

  5. Yes, marketers can “take advantage” of people based on psychological factors. Here’s the thing: isn’t the author doing the same thing by creating an environment where his argument looks better than what you believed before reading his book? He’s using the same psychological factors he’s blasting marketers over.

    If his goal was to educate, that’s one thing. It’s not his only goal. To call marketers weasels is a marketing ploy in itself – he’s using a controversial name to get people to read his book. Again, Atwood is using the same principles he’s warning you about to get your money and attention.

    Marketers aren’t weasels. Weasels are weasels.

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