You’ve seen them at conferences. They’ve tried to add you on LinkedIn. They’ve got a new book out about how digital marketing will change the world. They are: the industry expert thought leader blah blah blah. They are the worst.

The industry expert is a white, bald, middle-aged dude with glasses. There are no exceptions to this rule.

They don’t actually work anywhere themselves, but they somehow know everything about every company in their industry. They obtain all their information via psychic osmosis as they hibernate in their thought-pods.

They are about forty years too old to understand social media, but they’ll tell you how Snapchat is the new big thing. (They’ve been saying this for about five years now). They’ve got about 600 followers on Twitter, but they talk about ‘growth hacks’. And all they ever tweet is boring articles nobody will ever read.

They bounce from marketing conference to marketing conference, presenting the same deck, fielding the same questions, sitting on the same panels. This is their full-time life. Their talk is called something like ‘‘Building a winning Content Strategy – and why it’ll be the most important thing you do this year!’‘ and it’s full of absolute non-insights.

“Listen to your customers!” – wow. Never thought to do that before.
“Your users are on social, so you should be too!” – much wisdom.
“Check out this ad everyone’s already seen a hundred times.”

Stop encouraging them. They post absolute garbage and people who don’t know any better just lap it up.

The snake oil salesmen of yore have evolved. They used to sell affliction-curing tonics that didn’t do anything, now they’re getting paid shedloads to tell you how to do something that nobody understands. Don’t attend their workshops. Don’t buy their books. Don’t follow them on social networks. Just don’t engage with them at all.

Follow me instead. I know all the real secrets anyway.