5 Lazy Marketing Tactics That Drive People Nuts

by Cathy Miller on August 21, 2017

How many business offers do you receive in a day?

  • Requests from PR firms
  • Invitations to collaborate
  • Guest post pitches

And on and on. The right offer – done the right way – is good business strategy.

But, how often have you been on the receiving end of lazy marketing tactics? Doesn’t that drive you nuts?

In a two-part series, I’ll share examples of various marketing tactics I’ve experienced or observed.

  1. This first post focuses on lazy marketing tactics
  2. The second post shares examples of good marketing tactics

Lazy Marketing

The following is how our friends at Merriam-Webster define lazy. I circled the version used for purposes of this post.


See if you relate to any of the following five lazy marketing tactics.

#1 – The Did Not Do the Homework Tactic

When Bobby was a child, he hated homework.

  • Bobby often conned his brother to do it for him
  • Bobby’s typical tactic was some form of blackmail
  • Do it or I’ll tell Mom who really broke her flower vase!

Then Bobby grew up (sort of). He became Bob, co-founder of a small business for new game apps.

  • Bob hated marketing
  • But his company was too small to hire marketing professionals (and who needed them anyway?)
  • Bob would tell everyone he met at the game conference about all the cool features of their latest app

Others may have been embarrassed to pitch the features to Bob’s #1 competitor. But not Bob. How the heck was he supposed to know who the guy was?

Do your target market homework if you want to pass your initial test. Click To Tweet

#2 – The Scattergun Approach

This lazy marketing tactic is the birth child of #1.  Because Bob didn’t do his homework, he had no real target for his marketing.

  • Bob sprayed everyone he came in contact with
  • His email campaigns included most living, breathing humans
  • Bob figured with such great odds, some of those pitches would stick

If you’re a blogger, you have probably been the recipient of scattergun marketing.

For example, I receive public relations (PR) press releases – multiple times a day. Typically, the pitches I receive are a marriage of not doing the homework and the scattergun approach.

  • Most PR pitches have NOTHING to do with my business
  • I think the “reason” they often send them is because this blog has the term “business” in its name
  • Business? Close enough!

At one point, I became so frustrated by these pitches, I posted the following tweet (recreated – not the actual tweet). Not surprising, it had little (if any) effect.

Scattergun marketing wounds more people (with long memories) than captures the market you want. Click To Tweet

#3 – The Partner Without Benefits Approach

Are you flattered when others want to partner with you? You could be if they remember it’s not all about them. Even worse, are those who think you cannot see through their “win-win” arrangement.

Most freelancers will relate to the following story.

So much for a “win-win” situation.

Another example is this recent inquiry I received through my contact page. Perhaps if I felt my potential “partner” understood my business a bit better, he could draft a winning offer.



  1. Market research companies – I would love to see the circuitous route he took that landed him on my business communication site. I suppose it’s possible, but a quick look around would show my business is not a market research company.
  2. Partner up – Well, howdy, partner. Let’s see what you offer.
  3. Cartoon explainer video – Although the price I blocked out is 3-digits, I will admit it’s much lower than the “going” rate. What was interesting to me was the notion that I (as a business writer) should pay someone else to write my script.
  4. All I ask in return – Only a quick testimonial? Uh, what about the 3-digit cost to create the video? While a great discount, it’s not chump change.

Writer nitpicking – If I HAD any questions, does that mean I don’t HAVE any now?

Your collaboration offer should not tip more your way than your B2B partner. Click To Tweet

#4 – The Technology Trap

Technology tools that make life simpler are a marketer’s dream. They deliver your message faster, more efficiently, and to a wider audience.

But, technology fails. Adding technology is not an implement and forget solution.

  • Dear [insert name] – well, that certainly makes me feel special
  • Do not reply to this email we don’t like it when people contact us so we’re not going to tell you how you can
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI transforms customer service – whether that’s a good thing depends on how well the humans manage it

Technology tools + lazy marketing = annoying results

#5 – The Empty Promise

All businesses experience hiccups in service. How the business handles the missteps influences whether a customer remains loyal.

If you offer something the customer does not want or a response that feels patronizing, you deliver an empty promise.

Think about a bad customer experience you had. Perhaps the business offered you a discount on your next purchase.

  • How did you feel?
  • Satisfied?
  • Or more ticked off?

Sometimes, even money is not the answer.

“Discounting is very lazy marketing. Certainly, there is a time or place for it …but, really the more interesting part is what makes people tick…”

Mike Lukianoff, chief analytics officer for Fishbowl

Take the time to learn what people want.

What Ticks You Off?

I try to stay positive. Really. But, sometimes you need to vent. So, here’s your opportunity.

  • What types of lazy marketing have you encountered?
  • Share your examples in Comments

I promise the second part to this two-part series will be more uplifting. So, gather up your good marketing examples and we’ll meet back here soon. Deal?


Helping you Keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours – contact me for help with your business writing needs.


BigStock Photo Credit

Rawshorts video credit

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wayman August 21, 2017 at 7:34 am

Offers of guest posting are driving me nuts! Most are canned. Most have never looked at my site. Etc. etc. etc.
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Cathy Miller August 21, 2017 at 7:41 am

Ah, I remember the sweet person I was. Crafting a response to each request until the floodgates opened. Since then, I revised my Guest Post policy and put in bold above my contact form that I do not accept guest posts from people I do not know.

Has that stopped them? Or even slowed them down? Nope. What I hate even more are the ones that send MULTIPLE follow-ups that get increasingly rude. Yeah, that’s a great marketing tactic. Thanks, Anne, for sharing your thoughts.
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Paula Hendrickson August 21, 2017 at 9:09 am

The thing I get most often comes from publicists who assume I’m an editor or decision maker of a magazine or website, asking if I would be interested in running a story about their company or client. If it’s a legitimate (but lazy) PR source, I’ll reply suggesting they contact one of the editors about that. Otherwise I ignore them.
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Cathy Miller August 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

I would say most of the PR requests I receive are legitimate, but they have not done their homework. I used to respond (and occasionally still do) but it simply got real old fast so I seldom reply anymore.

Thanks for sharing your example, Paula.
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Devon Ellington August 21, 2017 at 9:13 am

Criticizing my site & saying how they will fix it for X fee. In a badly written, mis-spelled pitch. Not the way to win me over.


Cathy Miller August 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

Isn’t that dumbest marketing tactic ever, Devon? Insulting your targeted market. Thanks for a great example, Devon.
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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston August 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

Cathy, you covered them well–all the things that drive me nuts.

I did receive a compelling guest-post query once. The person had studied my blog and pitched a good idea. Unfortunately, I had already covered the topic, but he wouldn’t have known that without deep research. I believe he’s working on another idea now.

I look forward to the good examples.



Cathy Miller August 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lynn. My definition of someone I “know” is someone I know personally, or who interacts with my readers or me. Or someone like you describe who obviously “did their homework.” We all have to start our networks somewhere. I appreciate someone who does it the “right” way.

Thanks for stopping by, Lynn.
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Marcie August 22, 2017 at 5:56 am

I feel you on the work-for-free requests. I’m certain the person making the request isn’t working for free.

I once received an email from someone with “Hey” as a greeting, followed by how they can increase my website ranking with SEO. It was the WRONG website. I didn’t respond, and they emailed me a few weeks later with an attitude because I didn’t respond. Their whole strategy was incorrect.
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Cathy Miller August 22, 2017 at 6:19 am

I agree, Marcie. Your examples are the epitome of lazy marketing. Thanks for sharing them.
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Vatsala Shukla August 22, 2017 at 7:33 am

I receive quite a few hybrids of 1 and 2 Cathy and they are seasonal – whenever someone is selling blogging courses to newbies who go and google a keyword and then send emails to pitch guest posts without checking my website or work or they are looking to promote their businesses and think I’ll let them post irrelevant blog posts. None of them ever talks about promoting the post and I have to direct them to the Privacy Policy on my website. 🙂

I see a lot of 3 too – mostly on LinkedIn and once again. the sender hasn’t done their homework. Pity!


Cathy Miller August 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

It is a pity, Vatsala. Thank you for sharing your examples. I think we can all relate. 🙂
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