Episode 133: It’s Not You, It’s Them: How To Avoid Predatory Marketing

I have a brand-new FREE resource for you! It’s a tell-all article that I wrote called The Real Reason Proven Marketing Formulas Have Stopped Working. In this post I name names. I show proof of the Syndicate. Most importantly, I show you why those pesky proven formulas are no longer working. 

I’m here to tell you, it’s not you. It’s the system. 

Listen, I love marketing. It’s a fantastic tool that can be used for good… but there are a few bad apples that use it in a predatory way that really makes me angry. 

This is what I detested about my high-end mastermind with the coach who was only in it for money. At first, she was great. She’d go into coach mode and expose beliefs, fears and issues in our businesses — and then she’d try to sell us some new offers she had. One time the pitch was a sales conference to the tune of $5,000. Another time it was buying a speaker sponsorship at her next event for the bargain price of $18,000 or $20,000. On and on and on it went. 

She was SO GOOD at this that it took me about six months before I caught on to the tactics. But when I did, I couldn’t unsee what was right in front of my face. 

The truth was that she and all her big-name celebrity friends preyed on their audiences with extremely manipulative and predatory tactics, and laughed about it behind the scenes. 

She’d often say “I don’t care about their financial state. I’ll take their last dollar because I’m that good.”

That experience was truly a turning point in my business. To say my eyes were opened to the ugly underbelly of the online business celebrity culture was an understatement. 

 the marketing funnel show, marketing funnel, marketing funnels the marketing funnel show, marketing funnel, marketing funnels 

The Real Truth

I was disgusted and horrified by the tactics and straight-up lies people were telling in their businesses. But I vowed to stick around even though it made me sick to my stomach because I wanted to learn how they operated so that I could one day expose them and hopefully save other people from the financial waste I went through. 

Here’s the real truth about online business celebrity influencers → most of the big names built their business by buying their way into the ‘cool kids’ club. Maybe it’s a $50k mastermind, or a big event, or a lopsided affiliate deal with a bigger influencer, but the truth is they’re spending their way to the top.

As I started making note of all the business celebrities she brought in to her events and our mastermind, I began to closely scrutinize all of their launches, webinars, video series, events and social media. I quickly noticed a glaring trend because it was so obvious.  

All of her ‘friends’ — and many of the best-known online celebrities out there — were doing two things that absolutely drove me crazy: 

  1. They all promoted each other as the best thing ever, which is cronyism bought through paid masterminds and affiliate fees. But the worst part is that it makes you think and believe their products and programs are SO MUCH BETTER than they actually are. In fact, many of their products/programs are total crap — and I KNOW this because I bought many of them. 
  2. They teach the same old crap wrapped in a new package — even when they knew it didn’t work. 

Meet The Syndicate

If this sounds a bit far-fetched and out there, I promise you it isn’t. In my article, The Real Reason Proven Marketing Formulas Have Stopped Working I go deep into the Rise of Funnel Hacking Culture, including a Scamworld video on The Syndicate. 

If you haven’t heard of the Syndicate before, go read the article and watch the video at the bottom of page two and you will be disgusted. Oh, and for good measure, I threw in 15 links to Federal Trade Commission judgements on the scams from some of the better-known names out there. You can see all the evidence for yourself if you’d really like to dive into the weeds. 

This is how Frank Kern describes The Syndicate: 

“Have you ever noticed that all the people in the Internet Marketing world are promoting each other? I mean, we're not psychic. It's not like, ‘Oh, I suddenly realize he's having a launch today, I have to nail it'. We all work together, all the top people work together.”

But here’s the thing that makes me so angry about practices like The Syndicate. They purposely enhance social proof for each other and not just through testimonials. They’ll do joint videos, joint webinars, joint email blasts, joint ads and more so suddenly you’re seeing these online business celebrities EVERYWHERE and you’re thinking “Holy smokes, I’ve got to get in on this action because everyone is talking about it!”

So you open your wallet and spend $1997 or $2997 or more on a product that they KNOW isn't’ any good. 

I didn’t realize until it was too late and I’d spent way too much money so hopefully I can save you that fate. Do yourself a favor. Go read the article. Watch the video on The Syndicate, and next time you see a big launch going on, pay attention. 

Once you know the signs, you’ll see them ABSOLUTELY everywhere. 

Bottom line: It’s all about the benjamins, baby.

Does it work?

Kind of… at least for the short term.

That brand of manipulative marketing is designed to create feelings of inadequacy, massive fear and build overwhelming desire for their proven shortcuts even though these business celebrities KNOW they don’t actually work.

That’s why they sell the rags-to-riches stories of becoming a millionaire with just a laptop, WiFi connection and a magical breakthrough that resulted in their must-have system for $1997+.

I mean, if you’re scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feeling like you need help, these promises are pretty compelling. These ads are designed to hook us and make us feel less than. Because, if you don’t fly in a helicopter, what are you even doing with your life? 

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you and me… or other truly amazing business owners out there. 

Find the Truth Tellers

Having said that about big-name online business celebrities, I don’t want you to think that you should never buy any programs ever. 

There are some great programs out there — and I know because I still buy them today. BUT. I no longer get sucked into the online business celebrity programs based on their syndicate hype machine because I know better. 

Instead, I look for programs from experts who aren’t as well known and don’t play those unethical syndicate games. I look for people who are actually doing what they’re teaching and have the skills to back up what they’re selling. 

There are some AMAZING people out there — but you have to look. You have to find them. They’re not going to be the ones who are flashy and in your face with their paid-for fake social proof. 

They’re the ones following up their sleeves and showing up for their clients, customers and students. 

They’re the ones who put their heart and soul into their work. And you can tell because you’re not just a number, you matter to them. 

One of my current faves is Maggie Patterson at Small Business Boss. I have taken a number of her no-nonsense, no BS courses, I’m in my second round of masterminds with her and I hire her team to help with a lot of my content creation. 

She’s the real deal. Her team is the real deal. And I know I’m getting amazing growth out of myself because of the support they give me.

Another favorite is Dr. Michelle Mazur — she’s the one who helped me with my messaging to come up with Profit Without Worry. Michelle and I are actually friends AND I hired her to help me with this work because I know she is also the real deal. I’ve also taken a group program from MIchelle on putting my ideas into amazing speeches. 

There are many others, but those are my two biggest faves right this minute because they put amazing programs out there that are designed to actually get results.

Those are the people you want on your team. Not Syndicate members looking to make a buck off you just because they can. 

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time. I’ll show you how to attract a steady flow of buyers without all the hustle with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.