If I were to create a simple formula to explain the marketing process, it would look something like this:

A Good Product + Great People x Lots of Hard Work = Success

Take any of the above components out of the equation, and your marketing strategy simply won’t add up, and you’ll be doomed to failure.

Despite this, I meet countless marketers who tell me they are looking for an easier option. Many have drunk the Kool-Aid sold by self-styled marketing gurus who tout programs promising “easy recurring revenue” or “plug-in-and-go fully automated systems.” It’s a real shame because the reality of working in marketing is very different.

Marketing is a challenging occupation. It’s both a science and an art. It requires dedication, skill, agility and persistence. It’s not an easy option – but isn’t that the best thing about working in an industry like marketing? We are problem solvers, constantly evolving, testing new ideas, learning and striving for success. To quote JFK: “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”

Note: iContact (where I am gainfully employed) is a very successful online marketing technology company. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and invest countless hours in marketing our services. We are good at it because we employ some pretty smart people, constantly invest in our product and service, and work really hard to get our message out there. Believe me, if there were an easier way, we’d have found it.

Six Lies Sold to Marketers

  1. Make Big Money: I would be very dubious of any marketing organization that promises to make you rich before looking at your product or service. Yes, I can often be found claiming on this blog that email marketing offers an unrivaled return on investment but this is based on following best practices, which include having a great product, service, etc.
  2. Easy Recurring Revenue: There is no such thing as easy recurring revenue. You have to constantly invest time, effort and money into your product to build a successful subscription-based business. It might be possible to win a few lucky sales, but if your product or service doesn’t hit the mark, you’ll soon find yourself fighting attrition.
  3. Trade Secrets: If you had found the answer to making millions on the Internet, why would you dilute your opportunity and sell the secret in an (albeit overpriced) ebook? It would be like KFC selling Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe so you could enjoy their food from your own kitchen. The only secret being shared here is that there are a lot of gullible people out there looking for a quick fix. Don’t be one of them.
  4. Just a Couple of Hours a Week: While I am a big fan of the Tim Ferriss book The 4-Hour Workweek, I believe (for most of us) the book is more about driving efficiencies and freeing up time to concentrate on the most valuable aspects of your business than about working fewer hours. It’s worth remembering that before Tim minimized his workload, via outsourcing and careful consideration of the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), he had already built a successful business. Scaling back on the day-to-day management of a business is something successful business owners have always done. But before you can get to this position, you need to put the (many) hours in first, as I am sure Tim did.
  5. Work Anywhere: Again, I’m a huge believer in remote working. In fact, some of my most productive days have been spent in cafes in remote locations – but this takes real discipline. How many of you would choose to put in a 12-hour working day when faced with the distractions of a beach resort or outdoor lifestyle? Yes, we should all strive for a more positive work/life balance, but do this by developing more efficient processes instead of torturing yourself with the “promise” of an easy life.
  6. No Inventory, 100% Online Business: Unless you have the skills to develop your own software, build your own websites or create your own digital products, you’re more likely to be getting involved in some top-heavy pyramid scheme than any legitimate business. Yes, there are people making good money via affiliate marketing programs, online publishing, educational videos, vlogging, etc. – but believe me, it doesn’t come easy. They too must invest heavily in content creation and ongoing development, and that means hard work.

They say you can’t con an honest man. In marketing, we all need to put in an honest day’s work if we are to see success. Instead of wasting time looking for the easy option, invest your efforts into your product, your service and your strategic marketing campaigns, and success will surely follow.

This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.