The 7 — no 8 — Deadly Sins Of Marketing

Most of us have heard of the 7 deadly sins: Vanity, Anger, Envy, Lust, Greed, Sloth & Gluttony. But did you know that these could be applied to marketing? In fact learning how these sins can negatively affect your marketing can be a great help.

We’ve also come up with an 8th sin, that is, in our belief, as big a sin as the other 7. We’re saving this one for last. Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover each of the 8 deadly sins and how they can kill your marketing and your company.

Deadly Marketing Sin #1 – Vanity

Vanity, one of the more seemingly subtle of the 7 deadly sins, is particularly dangerous when you’re marketing a product or service.

One of the worst things a company can do is produce what we call “the vanity ad”. The main area where vanity rears its ugly head in the marketing arena is the vanity ad. These are TV commercials, print or other ads that are made mainly to appeal to the egos of the company owners. These ads have nothing to do with the consumer. They’re not designed to appeal to any target market or to sell the product.

For example: Maybe the owner of the company likes Harley’s. So their ad agency makes an ad with hogs everywhere. But the client is selling lipstick (or coffee cake or soda or anything but a motor cycle).

The executives and ad agency folks sit around the conference table smiling & clapping. It’s a hit! With who? With the corporate execs. After all, that’s who pays the bills right? Wrong. The customer pays the bills. And if your ad doesn’t sell them, they won’t pay.

So stay away from vanity ads & vanity campaigns & stick to what will appeal to your customers.

Toli Cefail

Toli Cefail is a veteran marketer for more than two decades. She is currently a principle of the leading online marketing firm In Touch Media Group (>). For more marketing tips visit her personal marketing blog at (

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