Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe unscientific medical practices. Random House Dictionary describes a "quack" as a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan."With marketing quackery, I'm not talking about straightforward lies (some folks that think that marketing guy is a synonym for liar), I'm talking about those "great ideas" that are really cool, but somehow seem to fall a bit short when it comes to the actual nuts and bolts of how Action A really takes you to Action B. Whether its outright scams like those SEO offers to get you to the top ranking on Google or those guys you work with who say, "we need some of those cool musical bouncy-balls with the blinky lights inside and our logo on the outside," the hopes and dreams of revenue growth and new market penetration are often built on foundations of disconnected logic and ignorance.
Consider the web as an example topic point. Some of this quackery comes from deliberate obfuscations -- attempting to exploit the mysteries of web 2.0 or how page rank works, then applying some mysterious gris gris to the problem and (fill in your appropriate magic words here) we're swimming in sales. More often it comes from not understanding the mechanisms and the goals, like how web analytics work, how search engine marketing is connected with demand generation, or what is the purpose of exhibiting at a tradeshow.
But rather than go through an extensive list now, I've decided to use this as a topic theme for future posts. In future posts, I hope to explore specific examples of marketing quackery and see how the topic category evolves.