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Are you Brainwashed By Marketing Gurus?

Updated on October 24, 2009

Dangers of the "Follow the Guru" Mentality

I just had an interesting exchange with a member of my email marketing list after recommending that people not join a new program called GVO. I did not recommend GVO because, like most MLM programs, the products are overpriced so as to provide more money in the system to pay all the affiliates. I also clearly explained the concept that testimonials and endorsements from several high-profile Internet marketing gurus are always biased because they are getting paid as affiliates of that program. Now, keep in mind that this is a paid program, so members are paying every month and will be losing money unless they make sales.

It is interesting to see how she tried to refute what I was saying without any kind of proof whatsoever. The other problem is that someone who is successful like a marketing guru is not necessarily a good teacher. Finally, there are special skills, like product creation, resource management, market research and knowledge, and joint venturing skills, that account for the success of these gurus who seem to always endorse each other's products and programs.

Are you brainwashed or potentially brainwashed by this "follow the guru" mentality? No person can make you successful except YOU. That is a guarantee. Over 50 years of MLM prove this. The record could not be clearer. Why is it that everyone who buys these gurus' courses is not successful? Several years ago, one of these products sold over 5000 copies in the first day. Another program had about 1000 paid subscribers the first month. We all have a brain and know these gurus only create a limited number of students who actually go on and become successful.

Why? First, it is quite clear that some people just don't do the work. If someone is lazy, of course they won't be successful. But I'm not talking about that group of people. I am talking about the fact that most people don't have the skills necessary to be successful or don't receive the proper training that will show a net profit.

First, let's talk about skills. The way Internet marketing gurus, mail-order gurus, and MLM heavy hitters are successful is through what is commonly called "joint ventures." To gather successful joint venture partners, you must have certain skills.

First, you need to be able to put together an enticing product, which most people don't have. This is exactly why you see the same products repackaged and rehashed into something else, but it is not enticing to many potential JV partners who see your product as a mere knockoff of things that are already out there in the market.

Second, you need an enticing joint-venture offer or separate viral marketing program. The successful marketers, gurus, and heavy hitters out there who might endorse and promote your product are not going to join you unless you convince them with something more than a commission. There is too much competition for this to be easy, and I see websites closing down all the time because they failed. This is a fact, not guesswork. Sites are closing down all the time.

Third, it is common knowledge that most marketing information can actually LOSE you money. If you just blindly follow what the gurus tell you and can't do successful joint ventures, then you will have to rely on some kind of paid advertising. In many cases, you will now be in marketing hell. I have been down that road. If you try to do it offline, you won't make sales unless you have sales-closing skills. Forget about it. Been there and done that according to gurus' instructions. No selling skills = no sales. Period.

Ah, but all the Internet marketing gurus try to teach you stuff like AdWords and other online paid advertising. You see, they KNOW that most people will never be able to produce an enticing product AND get the necessary joint venture partners together to be successful. So they pitch advertising schemes, as well. And here's where they make use of other people's testimonials for their own products. The problem with these testimonials you see on their sales pages are that they are just as biased as the testimonials and endorsements that the gurus provide for programs like GVO.

First of all, you can tell on their face that many of the testimonials are completely hollow of any objective review of the program. Second of all, if you give 1000 people some basic information on AdWords or any other topic and tell them to try it out, it is inevitable that, just by dumb luck, a few of them will make some sales. The problem with this is that it says nothing about all the people who failed. Testimonials inherently tend to favor the ones who got lucky or feature those who had other skills that made them successful. Notice how testimonials don't tell you the average person's results. Nope, I am not talking about the average person who did not try. I am talking about the ones who tried and failed. I have followed a guru's advice before and lost thousands of dollars.

Despite all this common sense that is out there that will allow you to take a step back and view things objectively, some people are completely convinced they can just latch onto one of these gurus or MLM heavy hitters and become successful.

Here is the first mad email I got from that person on my list. Of course, I can't include her name because she is entitled to the privacy of a one-on-one email exchange:

"Stop hating. The Top Shelf marketers in this program have an Army Regiment of subscribers and the are all expert marketers."

Notice how she instantly refuses to address my concerns about proper training or anything else and starts right in attacking me? Again, it doesn't matter if someone is an expert if they can't teach YOU to be an expert. If you don't have their networking skills, you can't replicate their success. And it is irrelevant that they have an "Army Regiment of subscribers" because they can't do the same thing for you. You will have to create an entire viral marketing system or launch a successful product and joint venture campaign to do the same. It's irrelevant.

So I responded as such:

"Ha ha. Wow. I explained that in the article. Being an expert doesn't mean you are a good teacher, especially since these guys make their money doing joint ventures with each other. It takes a special deal to pull those off and has nothing to do with promoting MLM. Did you join? And if you didn't, pony up and join since you're so convinced and let's see what kind of training you get."

Notice how I asked her about training again. Completely ignoring every valid question and observation I made, she felt compelled to respond again with this drivel that proves how brainwashed she has become:

"I have done business with these guys....they know what they are doing. Just keep hating and do your own thing.....your little letter may be just what we need to recruit herds of people!!!"

Does anyone believe this? First of all, what business have you done? Are you a customer? Likely. Have you made thousands from their edorsed mailings? Obviously not since she provided no proof of this. And the funniest part is the last line where she suggests that my letter might actually cause people to flood over there and join. She is brainwashed, and it's sad to see marketers that I am trying to help stuck in this slave-like "follow the guru" mentality.

And no, this is not just a bashing campaign on my part and is not hating at all. Giving an objective opinion based on my life experience and knowledge is not hating. It's a freakin' opinion, and what good is my knowledge if I can't share it?

I have, in fact, bought marketing services from some of these gurus, but that was because it was a good deal that I determined was a good deal with my own knowledge and mind. I am trying to teach people how to evaluate offers on their own instead of relying on other people. If you are going to be successful, you need to learn how to brand yourself first. You have to be a leader, not a follower.


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    • TimTurner profile image

      TimTurner 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Sounds like a cult!