Why Marketing is NOT Evil

Tree Swing Marketing Story

Tree Swing Marketing Story

Why sharing our favorite local small businesses through word of mouth improves our standard of living:

Pay attention to the statistics found in the second half of this post and find out how our decisions and actions are key to economic survival.

I clearly remember how appalled I was when IBM told us (us being technical employees known as CEs or SSRs) we had to start selling.

Selling was a dirty word to me.

Marketing and sales were the people who promised what we could not deliver and pressured customers to buy what they did not want or need.

Customers trusted techs and we did not want to lose their trust.

In most organizations, marketing is paid much more because they are seen as an income source. The IBM salesman I knew best made 25 times what I made (and the IBM CEO pay is 530 times more) and their phones did not ring all hours of the day and night like mine did.

Support staff is paid much less because they are considered an expense instead of an asset. At least in IBM’s case that is a serious mistake because what we once called Customer Engineers and later called SSRs are the only IBM employees most customers see on a regular basis and the primary reason those customers keep buying IBM equipment. But we’re getting off track.

Let me explain WHY marketing is NOT Evil.

I know that I am not the only person who had a negative view of marketing. The thing is, if there were no marketing we would not know who offered what we need and want. If a business doesn’t market well and close sales they can’t stay in business. Marketing and sales are both essential to us as buyers and to make an honest living. What we need is a different perspective on marketing.

Marketing is how we find what we want and need.

Marketing is how we know who does what. Businesses must have a marketing plan so we will know what they do. They need to clearly understand the differences between marketing, advertising, promotion and PR. Brad Harmon’s excellent post Are You Confused about Marketing provides the perfect Definition of Marketing.

No matter what that plan is – even if it is only a sign in the window or handing out business cards – the purpose is always just that: to make sure those who need or want what they offer know about their products and services.

Marketing is essential to small business success and small businesses are essential to improving our standard of living.

If we want the most people possible to live a comfortable life with at least a roof over their heads, clothes to wear and enough to eat we have to change how we feel about marketing.

Why do we buy from Corporations whose commercials depict us as insects, animals or stupid? Why do many pay for clothing and products that make them walking billboards for brands?

Why is that kind of marketing acceptable while we refuse to allow small businesses to reach out to us? We create forums but refuse to allow them to add a link to their business or a description in a signature line.

We install dofollow CommentLuv and KeywordLuv and then delete quality comments seeking anchor text or even report any business leaving comments as a spammer.

What we need is a change in perspective.

Small traditional and online businesses are best for our economy because almost every penny we spend with them is almost immediately spent with other businesses.

When you buy your groceries from your local independent grocer or through a Food Coop or Consumer Supported Agriculture you support all the suppliers and businesses they use.

Money we spend with small businesses improves our economy and increases the standard of living for all.

What you spend in stores owned by multi-national publicly traded corporations goes to support boards earning seven figure executive compensation and continue to pay huge bonuses while their employees barely make a living wage – or for many of the worst Corporations do NOT make a living wage.

“The chasm between America’s haves and have-nots has reached Grand Canyon-esque proportions. Thirty years ago top executives at S&P 500 companies made an average of 30 times what their workers did — now they make 300 times what their workers make.

Is it any wonder that the new television show Undercover Boss is so popular? This income disparity has a serious negative impact on our economy, on each of us and on everyone else in the world.

“Income inequality now is at an all-time high: The top 1 percent of Americans earn a quarter of all income, and the top 10 percent earn 50 percent.” More on tying CEO to employee pay.

If 50 percent of all income is in the hands of 10% of all Americans how much of that money do you believe is kept circulating where it can support other businesses and improve the economy?

How much of YOUR income do you spend? For a huge percentage of Americans the answer would be ALL of it and then some!

If we put more of our money directly into the hands of people who spend it our economy WILL improve and so will our standard of living!

Small business is key to improving our economy and is the bright spot in creating jobs – and not just any job – better jobs that pay well and have a future! Gallop estimates 30 million Americans – over 20% of Americans – are already underemployed.

Many are working two jobs and still making only a third of their former pay not to mention loss of benefits and the impact on their lives of working all the time and still not making ends meet.

How we as individuals can change all this.
  1. First we can change where we spend every penny we can. Buy from your local small or favorite online ecommerce stores because they will buy from their favorite small and online stores and keep that money in circulation.
  2. Write reviews for your favorite businesses so others can figure out who deserves their business.
  3. Recommend them to your friends, family and wherever you communicate online.
  4. If you have a blog write about and link to them with the best anchor text. Install KeywordLuv and approve comments for businesses.
  5. If you comment regularly in blogs and have nothing to promote yourself consider adding anchor text links for others. [WARNING: Read each  blog’s comment policy as some bloggers specifically prohibit doing this (and I hope they’ll read this post and reconsider).]
  6. Share information about how any business with a physical address and phone number can get FREE Listings in Local Search Directories with your favorite businesses, family and friends.

Buying advertising works far better for huge multi-national corporations than it does for small businesses. Since the Internet is global buying advertising online is especially unlikely to generate a positive ROI for local businessses.

It used to be fairly accurate to say “It takes money to make money” but that has changed now that we can use online tools to speed up Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM).

We should all be getting excited because WOMM has made it possible for us to know which businesses and products to avoid!

I will borrow a quote from Andy Sernovitz‘ new book Secret and Mysterious Order of Word of Mouth, a book I highly recommend:

“Word of mouth marketing only works if you have good products and services. It only works if people like you and trust you. (If you’re a jerk,word of mouth with backfire horribly on you.)

If your product or service sucks, no PR campaign, clever TV ad, or announcement on your website will make consumers believe that it doesn’t. Not any more. And the speed of word of mouth on the Internet spreads the truth almost instantly.

You won’t hear a lot of good word of mouth about cable companies.

When word of mouth works, good companies are rewarded with gobs of free advertising and attention, and they make more money.

When word of mouth works better, bad products and bad companies are punished with negative buzz, and they lose customers.

Think about what this means for you and your family. We have a new social force that rewards companies with free marketing, sales and profits when they treat people well and produce good products. The same force stops companies from treating people badly by killing their sales.

For the first time in the history of modern business, we have a force for good that is also driven by the all-powerful profit motive. For years, government regulators and consumer advocates have tried to use legal and public pressure to make companies treat people well. I’ll bet that the profit motive works better.

This is why word of mouth marketing is so exciting. Everyone can do it. It makes money. It makes products and services more exciting. It makes business more honest and ethical.

It is better for all of us.

If you have a business or blog you need a copy of this book so you will avoid making mistakes that stay online forever. Also visit his site for viral marketing ideas on how to make your online activities memorable to tap into the power of viral marketing. (Follow Andy Sernovitz on Twitter)

We can each bring more power faster to word of mouth marketing. Marketing is NOT evil when it is honest and ethical. It is only evil when it is deceptive and only benefits the already wealthy.

Bloggers are especially important to making sure that small businesses thrive and we need to take action NOW while we still have small and online businesses to support!

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Most ecommerce and online businesses receive 60-90% of all their traffic and sales from one search engine that has publicly announced their intention to focus on brands to “clean up” the Internet.

Any traffic not directly attributable to that search engine is likely to also have been found using that search engine.

We must preserve our ability to find the businesses, products and services we want to use and a great way to do that is to start supporting them with our spending and by recommending them.

It wouldn’t hurt to use a different search engine too. DuckDuckGo is my favorite search engine and I hope you’ll try it out because their results are cleaner and every site I can find in you know where has been in theirs (and yes, I do test that regularly).


Participate in our BizLuv MEME to Support Small Businesses to support your favorite businesses, causes and blogs. You can get involved in Blog Outreach or join our private blog collaboration which has developed a process for generating and sharing unique guest blog posts.

If you own or work for a business, you MUST learn how to market it. The survival of your business will depend on it.  You do not have to have money to spend and anyone can get free advice on what works and what doesn’t right here.

We are continually working and testing new methods especially for businesses like the Florida Millwork company Good Millwork hard hit by the economy such as those in the home improvement, construction and real estate niche. If we can make it work for them it can work for any business.




How little does the dollar buy and how high are expenses already? I will add links here to real people who are challenged to make ends meet.

  • What if you can’t make ends meet on $25/hour, make too much to get assistance, and then lose your job? Angie Marion titled that post Her Fall From Grace but this is NOT her fault and not a fall. It is where the sliding dollar is going to land everyone who doesn’t have a new plan and soon. Read this post and the information in Support Small Businesses. If you have computer skills contact me and I will share how you can earn a good living online by providing services to small businesses including getting them Local Search Directory listings, Blogging for their businesses and using Article and Social Media Marketing to drive more traffic to their sites. I will teach those who are interested and send them referrals.


  • Why the Internet Scares Politicians
  • Truths about The History of the United States, the rise of Multi-National Corporations, “American” Corporate support of Hitler, suppression of competition, and who controls the economies of the world and how: The Elkhorn Manifesto
  • IBM and the Holocaust
  • Spending Freeze When Hell Freezes Over (See the graph Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes at the very bottom.)
  • The Cost of War
  • War is a Racket by Smedley Butler who was was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.This is the very best speech on the truth of war I have ever heard. I read a portion of it years ago and have been looking for it ever since. I sincerely hope everyone will take the time to watch it. It could change your life and the lives of everyone else on this planet.In recognition of its excellence I share here the StumbleUpon review of War is a Racket posted by mystiker:”This a re-enactment of the famous speech by two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Smedley Butler. Although the speech is dated around World War II the theme of the message is timeless.Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed “The Fighting Quaker” and “Old Gimlet Eye”, was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.During his 34 years of Marine Corps service, Butler was awarded numerous medals for heroism including the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (the highest Marine medal at its time for officers), and subsequently the Medal of Honor twice. Notably, he is one of only 19 people to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, and one of only three to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.”

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. The main direction of the global economy should be to support small businesses. Therefore, the development of marketing is very important. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Denver Colorado
    Tim Barsons would love you to read ..VideoMy Profile

  2. Evil – maybe not, but it’s less a satisfying position. Ethical marketing is a myth, a paradox. But its inevitable for all businesses – doesnt matter how big or small the brand is

    • Hi Nish,

      I totally disagree. If a business is providing excellent service and products making sure we can find them is highly ethical. It is NOT inevitable that businesses must lie, steal or cheat – it is just that people have been conditioned by the media to accept such bad behavior as “normal”.

      It is high time that those who believe in ethics shun every person and business that does evil and seeks out alternative solutions from those who do not. There would already be alternatives if we supported the honest and had not tolerated greed.
      growmap would love you to read ..SOPA Blackout Strike Already Started; Why Major Sites and Blogs Went Dark in SupportMy Profile

  3. hunterX0506 says:

    Imagine the additional wealth that individuals and small and local businesses would have if so much of what they earn was not taken from them off the top. | 😛
    hunterX0506 would love you to read ..online car gamesMy Profile

  4. I would like to help nip in the bud is promoting Major Brands and Fortune 500 companies. Why help them hoard even more money and squeeze our economy dry when you can be paid to promote better small and online businesses that appreciate your efforts?
    negra would love you to read ..Answering ServiceMy Profile

    • You’re a person after my own heart, negra. That is exactly my thought, too – and why I promote small businesses and encourage bloggers to add a local focus to their blogs.

  5. Coming to your point about keywordluv and commentluv plugins, I think most bloggers are just afraid of PR leak, they want to get the ‘extra’ traffic that these plugins can give to their blogs, but won’t approve genuine comments because they don’t want to provide a ‘free’ link to someone.. | 😛
    jazz0506 would love you to read ..car parkingMy Profile

  6. great post!thanks for sharing this to us for me marketing is more about what the benefits are while sales requires the ability to close.
    Abegail would love you to read ..lesbian dating sitesMy Profile

  7. internet marketing says:

    Good way to market something is to not be aggressive and bore the potential users to death with pointless spam commercials that in the end alienate the customer. This is something that people these days just don’t understand and still think that there is something good in it. The best you’ll get from me when you use aggressive marketing is a nice place in my junk folder.

  8. Why marketing is not evil..Because the owner is not evil so that marketing is not a evil..SIMPLE! | 😛
    buggy would love you to read ..driver ed games onlineMy Profile

  9. thanks for the posts. i really learned something, i need as much infos as i can get since i’m just new to this stuff.
    crys would love you to read ..angry birds onlineMy Profile

  10. If the marketing comes from an honest standpoint.
    But many times a product gets sold under the pretence that it fixes a problem, a problem that they make us realize we have. You can’t blame them for trying to make us want a product like that, and without it the whole system wouldn’t work. But it’s still not honest so I try to be careful not to fall for that.
    Danny would love you to read ..Black & Decker NPP2018 18-Volt Cordless Electric Pole Chain SawMy Profile

  11. Marla Hughes says:

    It’s articles such as this that keep me coming back again and again, even on days like today when Safari takes FOREVER to load. On almost any other site I’d have clicked off long ago. But I not only read your blog, but the comments afterwards. Not only for the comments themselves but because you’re so engaged with your audience and sometimes your replies apply to my situation(s) more than the articles to at that time. Definitely Stumbling this one-one of your best (and that’s saying a lot).

    • Hi Marla,

      Thank you so much for your comment – and your patience – and for sharing my posts, too. I do my best to answer questions for anyone who asks knowing that my answers will benefit others as well. Do always ask any questions you may have – and tweet me a link if I don’t answer right away and I’ll head right over and do so.
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Economy: How to Beat the RecessionMy Profile

  12. I agree re: supporting small biz in the ways described. This is easier to do with service-oriented businesses than those that deal with commodities. For example, I prefer my local family-run Italian restaurant to the giant Olive Garden chain – and I can justify spending 20% more there for the experience. I cannot say the same for the local hardware store selling me a hammer for $25 that I can buy at Home Depot for $20. The challenge for small biz is in differentiating themselves in a way that adds value (e.g., product/service quality, warranty, delivery, hours of operation, efficiency, etc.).

    • Hi Steve,

      That is how many people feel; however, I believe if they really knew the entire reason that stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, and other multi-national corporations can sell for less at least those with a heart would spend the extra $5.

      If we support those corporations we are equally culpable for their actions which include child labor and wages so low that they are virtually slave owners. No company that does not take advantage of others in such onerous ways can compete on price against them.

      We can’t expect small business to compete against companies willing to treat others horribly nor can we expect them to compete against companies that can afford to give away what they sell such as Google.

      Our economy is proof of what focusing on low prices and saving money for ourselves and the expense of others reaps. The solution is Fair Trade and being willing to pay reasonable prices for what we buy.
      growmap would love you to read ..Bloggers And Small Businesses Can Conquer Cyberspace With CollaborationMy Profile

      • Perhaps we should agree to disagree. It’s unrealistic to expect consumers to pay 20 percent or more price premiums to demonstrate that they have a heart while interest rates on their consumer debt as well as food and energy prices climb. Many consumers have a relatively fixed income and less discretionary income than they may have enjoyed in the past. This, coupled with rising prices, creates more urgency to stretch dollars – and paying an extra $5 for a hammer, for most, doesn’t make sense…
        Again, I see it as Ma and Pa Kettle’s responsibility to figure out a way to compete. If they leave it up to the hearts of consumers (many of whom are unemployed or underemployed with mortgages that exceed the value of their homes) to pay a price premium for their products and service out of a sense of responsibility, they’re doomed.

  13. Sometimes we confuse in sales and marketing . so the better the marketing , the best the sales will be. but sales will be depend on the feedback of the customer. The best feedback of the products the more sales too :)
    Harry would love you to read ..Backlink Profit Monster Software Real ReviewMy Profile

  14. billiam flax says:

    what a LOAD OF BS…. dont need marketing to tell me what insurance or pharmaceuticals are for. If you dont know, or cant figure out where to buy what you need in 2011, your a complete idiot. We also dont need commercials telling us what exxon/moblie or BP does, before we watch a youtube video of kittens. Marketing is thee worst. I literally have never baught anything because of clever marketing or a good advertisement, but i have definitely stopped from purchasing items becuase of annoying ads. Wake up. Pretty soon we’ll all look like Nascar drivers.

    • You are thinking ONLY of big brands and corporations and what I am writing about here is how to find and buy directly from local small businesses, manufacturers and growers.

      IMHO, no one needs insurance or prescription poisons or to support the evil of multi-national corporations. What they DO need is to be able to find farmers and ranchers who grow healthy food locally and people that still remember how to build furniture or repair homes and local suppliers of what we need to repair instead of continually replacing what we need.

      You think it is easy to find the best small businesses. Look at the image in the post I’ll put in the CommentLuv link at the end of this reply. The masses use Google and Google decides what they see and what businesses thrive – or die. What people really need to wake up to is the Truth – and I don’t mean the illusions the media feeds them.

      Did you even read this post or are you just trolling? The very first paragraph IN BOLD says:

      “Why sharing our favorite local small businesses through word of mouth improves our standard of living.”

      Perhaps you don’t know what a small business even is? I am definitely NOT talking about BP or other oil companies or insurance companies.
      growmap would love you to read ..Google Results Image: Paid Versus Organic ListingsMy Profile

  15. Marketing is not an evil because without marketing or advertising I doubt there will be development. People cannot think of going back to the traditional method of marketing when we have modern means like the internet. Without marketing we would get aloof because we won’t know what’s new in town and what’s the latest trend.

  16. anybody who says its Evil is in denial…mktg is what keep business up and alive.

  17. anyone who think its EVIL is way to naive and in denial…marketing is everywhere and anywhere.We do it all the time
    Mexican Drinks would love you to read ..A Simple Quesadilla RecipeMy Profile

  18. wny yoga says:

    to me this says it all “Marketing is how we find what we want and need”.this sums up what mktg is

  19. I must admit that I totally suck at sales and in fact very recently came to know the difference of sales and marketing. Thanks for such a detailed article on why Sales need not sound *bad* or *evil* and yet can boost your business.

    Its great to find another business enthusatic mind like mine. I’m bookmarking your blog to come back and read more awesome articles in future. Keep writing :)
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  20. I agree that marketing is not evil. But some people not offering any informative ins rather than sales. I don’t like such ethic. If you want sell something, makesure you give the best service to your audiences first so that your audiences will trust in you.
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  21. I never liked to sell, maybe because I had to do so many fundraisers for private school growing up as a kid, all that door to door sales business just wasn’t fun for a shy kid. Yet what line of work do I find myself in… internet marketing, well in some fashion anyway – the problem is I don’t really think of myself as an internet marketer – and maybe that’s why I don’t earn enough in one day to retire in 2 years like the top dogs do :)

    The term internet marketer tends to have bad connotations for so many people because so many people trying to make money on the internet do it in such an unsavory way. No one likes to be sold to in such an aggressive way, successful marketing is really an art and there are a lot of paint by numbers marketers out there who probably should find another line of work. :)
    Chris would love you to read ..Invicta Men’s WatchesMy Profile

    • Hi Chris,

      The first thing you need to know is that many of those “top dogs” are big time liars. More than one has been exposed for photo-shopping their supposed income.

      Retirement is a silly illusion sold to the gullible to keep their noses to the grindstone. Even if you could earn a million dollars this year there is no telling how little that might buy in another year or two. Certainly not enough to live off of for the rest of your life.

      Most people – not just kids – would not find any selling fun – much less door-to-door selling. (That only works for kids because people either want to support their efforts or feel guilty if they don’t buy or have to keep up appearances – which of those depends on the type of people asked.)

      Most of us are NOT good at sales and although many assume I am they would be wrong. I am very good at marketing (sharing why I love something) but not good at all at selling (closing – pressuring people into buying what they may not want, need or be able to pay for).

      Yes, selling is an art and the best artists are able to make the buyer feel happy they bought. The worst are the high pressure sales people that can be so effective that most places you can back out of major purchases if you do it within usually three days.
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Internet MarketingMy Profile

      • True, there are a lot of shysters out there that fake what they make -and a lot of marketers making their money solely on people trying to learn how to make money online without having actually done it themselves.

        While retirement may be an illusion for most the beauty of online income is that it keeps going, thus once you’ve made enough to pay off all those big debts (house, cars etc..) it takes relatively little to live comfortably. I wouldn’t mind that 1 million in a year, but until then I’m certainly happy trying to achieve it while having more time to spend with the family. :)
        Chris would love you to read ..Invicta Men’s WatchesMy Profile

  22. Strum Patterns says:

    I believe that marketing per se, is not evil. It’s the people who makes marketing a disadvantage or they are making marketing their way to cheat other people by promising the impossible. I hope these people will change their strategy and be aware to make profit in a non coercive way.

  23. Jim Sanders says:

    Gail, it’s not that marketing is evil, it’s the problem that way to many marketers use UNETHICAL practices, and that’s what makes it so. There are just way to many out there willing to lie, cheat, steal, and make outlandish claims to entice people to buy. As this continues to proliferate, it makes all the rest of the ethical marketers look bad. Over time, good ones cave in because of what the others take away as well, and fighting fire with fire only perpetuates the situation.

    Take for instance all the get rich quick schemes. Those are prime example where it’s easy to make money online, you’ll be rich over night, and you can do it in your sleep with little money or time invested. It’s further exacerbated because of the prevailing society mind frame and expectations of something for nothing. The methodology has permeated other markets as well where they use the same outlandish claims and suggestions that simply are not true.

    Until such a day when marketers and society change views, the problem will continue to cycle and self perpetuate. Marketers need to learn to be ethical, and people need to learn to think and use the minds they were born with.
    Jim Sanders would love you to read ..trogar1971 wrote a new blog post- Ezine Articles Smoke and MirrorsMy Profile

    • Hi Jim,

      I agree that some marketers are highly unethical, but it is also true that many consumers who tolerate what big brands do scream if a small business advertises, markets, or contacts them.

      The con artists are telling people what they want to hear and they’re lapping it up. Then Newbies listen to what the get-rich quick types like Chow and Shoe teach and start writing about things they know nothing about yet. IMHO, THAT is why it takes so long to figure out what works – because so many Newbies are out hawking nonsense to other Newbies.

      There IS room for highly ethical marketers to teach what IS and IS NOT ethical to new bloggers and marketers who do not really understand what they are doing yet. Many are not intentionally unethical – they are only doing what some famous con artist is teaching.
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Internet MarketingMy Profile

      • Jim Sanders says:

        Exactly Gail, my next blog post will be about Alen Sultanic along with Matt Bacack, and a bunch of others in one of their recent Mass Moneymakers send the internet a message thing through ClickBank sales. I’m lining up the research on how they took a get rich program, knowing that Google was about to make radical changes that would render some of that program useless, yet they still pushed through selling thousands, if not more, worth of memberships to that program alone. I’m also including some screen shots of emails from Sulatic himself, how he mentions that something will only be available until such a date, yet ironically, I wind up with messages AFTER that end date for the same thing.

        I’m also including links to some things outlining some of the big names that went along with it as well, including names like Shawn Casey and others. If this piece doesn’t get people thinking, I don’t know what will. It’s not done yet, I just finished the research, and yes, I DO buy these once and a while to see what the norms are. This is one of the recent ones I did to see if anything had changed.
        Jim Sanders would love you to read ..trogar1971 wrote a new blog post- Ezine Articles Smoke and MirrorsMy Profile

      • If one intention is scamming then i think that is what people call Evils in Marketing…i agree with U.Ethical Marketing is possible if given the right tools

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