It’s one of the most respected business journals in the world. But it can still be dead wrong. For instance…

“The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World,” announced the front page of The Wall Street Journal business section. Sounded promising, so I took a gander. What I found left me scratching my head:

“Many marketers have been trained to bludgeon consumers with advertising – to sell, sell, sell anytime and anywhere consumers can be found. In an online community, it pays to resist that temptation.”

Two things about this directive struck me as horribly off.

1. You should never have to “resist [the] temptation” to market.

As MaryEllen has said, time and again, “Don’t be afraid to sell.” If you’re offering something worthwhile to your prospects – and if you’re not, what are you doing? – you should want to market it to the high heavens.

2. You should never be using advertising as a bludgeon. The authors of that WSJ article claim that Web 2.0 – blogs, online communities, wikis, and social networking sites – is all about relationship building. Not about marketing.

News flash: There should be no difference between what you think of as “marketing” and what you think of as “relationship building.” Essentially, they are one and the same. Good marketing – no matter where or how you’re doing it – is about building a relationship. Every time you speak to a customer, every time you write an article, every time you post a comment on a blog, every time you answer a question on a forum – it’s all marketing, because it all reflects back on your business and its ability to fulfill your customers’ needs.

Marketing your products – and doing so in a way that builds a relationship with your customers – should always be a top priority. No matter what you’re doing, or where you’re doing it, you should be giving your prospective customers a reason to trust you… a reason to do business with you… a reason to think of you when they have a need or desire.

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