I am not a fan of any publication or product that claims to have secrets that you must have. I think they prey on people’s needs, insecurities and dreams. Let’s stop and think about the diet industry and all of the supplements, books, diet plans and procedures that claim to hold the secret to helping you look and feel great. We all know the technicalities of losing weight. Eat less and move more. It might not always be easy to implement but the science behind it is pretty easy to grasp. Why on earth do we need to feed into this multi million dollar diet industry when we already have the information we need? I can see the value in programs or tools that provide motivation and/or useful and correct information but there is no quick fix. If there was some magical pill or secret it wouldn’t be a secret at all. Everyone would be using it already. Pills and laser beams are not a secret weapon against fat.
How many new parents, fragile and desperate from sleep deprivation have gone in search of that illusive secret to getting baby to sleep? My hand is up. I was lured in. If someone actually did hold this secret, the one that would help restore my sanity, I was willing to do whatever it took or cost to get it! It didn’t take me long to realize that every single book or sleep plan out there held no, or very little, information or tools that I didn’t already know or possess. Yet, when I went online to a popular book retailer and searched I found 107 books holding the key to getting your baby/child to sleep! Does that mean there are 107 secrets or do we need the same information told to us 107 different ways? How can so many people know the secret while so many parents still search for it?
I’ve been finding this to be common in the blogging and media world too. I see an enticing title – the secret to better SEO, the top secrets every blogger should know, the secret to buying the perfect gift for him – so I eagerly head on over to find uninspired sponsored content with no real substance or secrets that are pretty much already common knowledge but are hitting on a topic that may be hot. I don’t want to be a victim of someone’s SEO efforts. I want the content of that post or article to deliver, to give me what the title that lured me over promised me! I don’t expect every thing I read to be earth shattering or life altering, but if the title is sensational what’s inside better be too.
I think as parents we are constantly being bombarded (like the sleep issue) with information that promises to make us better parents and our kids healthier and happier. Secrets for dealing with toddler tantrums, secrets to getting teenagers to listen, secrets for just about everything you can possibly think of. There is a lot of good and useful information out there. I had several books that I pulled out and referenced frequently when my little one was a baby, but the “secret” books just sit and gather dust. I can’t even, in good conscience, give them away. Unless your problem is having too much cash, the baby whisperer will not (as advertised) solve all of your problems.
One of the biggest faults with books, plans, seminars or tools is the one size fits all approach. We are all unique and our situations, all though they might have similarities, are not the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s losing weight, raising kids or saving for retirement, we all have different challenges, strengths and weaknesses that need to considered if we want to be successful.
The “secret” marketing strategy is a good one – and by good I mean effective. Not only does sensationalism sell but if you tell people “hey this is common sense so why the hell aren’t you doing it?” you make people feel foolish and inadequate. But, if you take that same common sense and sell it as a secret, well, then everyone feels better, because up until you reveal that secret they have been deprived of that information and how could they possibly have been successful without it?
Common sense, hard work and, often, trial and error (and sometimes help from professionals) are generally the best approach to solving a problem or reaching a goal. Secrets are, by definition, not meant to be known so be weary of anyone wanting to sell you theirs.