It’s been a while since I last posted anything – to be exact since June 3rd 2009! But let’s not dwell on the absence of my posts, but rather what I’m about to write about. FUD Marketing. So what’s FUD? Do you FUD someone, or tell someone to FUD-off, or is it some sick version of F*** You D***head?
courtesy of: EclipseCon 09
FUD About Nothing
For those in marketing business, sales or the likes, then you may know what FUD stands for – or probably have applied the principles of FUD into a sales pitch some time in your career to win over a deal or two.
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
Three key emotions that causes the strongest man and wisest woman to err. The exploiting (or leveraging) of these fundamental feelings is probably overused and abused.
And since I’m in the business of Search, I would like to take a few moments to explain how many SEO practitioners, agencies, sales reps, and SEM vendors implicitly apply this to their pitches.
To FUD or Not to FUD
I get it, I really do. Search engine traffic is the livelihood of tens of thousands of web business all over the world. Companies rely heavily on this platform to increase revenue, profits and show the CEOs how well oiled their search engine strategies are with great ROIs. And SEO/SEM companies know this! They understand the dynamics of not just optimizing a website, but also convincing you, the company, that what you’re doing is of lesser value compared to what they can provide. Afterall, an engagement in search could be worth tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to the SEO/SEM vendor. It’s a lucrative business.
Before I go on, let me be clear that this was a realization after I discovered FUD in wikipedia – and caused me to reflect on various aspects of how search deals are inked.
Let me walk through your typical vendor presentation and see if I’m crazy – most people think I am!!
FEAR – The first thing a vendor does is quickly point out to you how bad your site is doing, the multitude of keywords that you’re not ranking for, etc. For a multimillion dollar business, heck even a small business, you would be shitting in your pants. And then they show you more things that you’re not doing right, some technical babel mixed in with normal words. And the list goes on and on – you’ve heard enough bad news! Unless you’ve been in one of these audit sessions, let me tell you, it send chills down your spine – *shiverrrrrr*.
UNCERTAINTY – There will be at a single point during the discussion with the SEO/SEM vendor where you might think to yourself “Shitballz, our business needs help, our search engine performance is horrible!” Fear struck – fear causes uncertainty in what you are doing or have done. Because of the perception of vendors as subject matter experts, you start to feel helpless and begin thinking perhaps they were right and you do need their help…but wait! It’s not over.
DOUBT – Just when you feel fearful and uncertain about your website’s chances in search performance, you get hit with a dose of doubt. Even though you are fearful and uncertain about what you’ve done for search engines on your site, that’s still not enough for you to surrender. Somewhere deep inside, you still have an ounce of confidence that you can pull it together and make things better. Vendors HATE that confidence in you! The last few slides of EVERY presentation is usually filled with information overload on what it takes to be successful. And what it takes usually come in the form of a barrage of what appears to be advanced strategies – such heavy the workload that no company can EVER take it on themselves – NEVER! If that isn’t enough to cause doubt, then you’ve proven me wrong.
With so many SEO/SEM vendors today, compared to 5-7 years ago, it is difficult to decide on who will deliver and who won’t. But that’s not what I’m here to help you do – you are big enough to figure that out.
What I find that’s missing is complete transparency, honesty, ethics. Why don’t vendors point out the great things that the company has accomplished? Ok – redundant question.
I can’t speak for all, but I can certainly atest to my past experiences since 2001. I actually do know a few search consultants are would do that – and guess what, they get the deals too! I would like to see more transparency from SEO/SEM agencies – give the bad news, but also provide good news where good news is due. Don’t focus on the contract, that’s just a bonus – once your prospect understands the good, bad and ugly. Not just bad and uglies!
Less FUDding please.
If you have experienced this type of approach from an agency, car salesman, real estate agents or just about anyone else, please share your thoughts. Let’s expose these dirty little FUD-Ninjas together!!