About the Episode

Hey outlaws, welcome to episode 40. Today we’re going to be talking about bro marketing. I’m going to share with you my specific definition of it, what it is, and where it can show up in our businesses. I’ll share some of the things you can be looking for in your own marketing, but also as customers and consumers.

Bro marketing is always aspirational and rooted in shame and fear. It’s a toxic narrative that permeates almost every industry, but especially in online business. I’m here today to tell you that not only is bro marketing complete bullshit, but also that there is a better way.

You’ll hear practical steps you can take today to create your own anti-bro marketing business, get in touch with your inner outlaw, and learn marketing practices that feel good. Plus, I’m touching on the future of the podcast and how I want you to be involved. Grab your Outlaw Journal and enjoy.

Topics discussed in episode #40

Topics Discussed:

  • The history of bro marketing before the increase of online businesses
  • The two clear ways of defining bro marketing and how you may be unknowingly influenced by it
  • Tall tale signs you can look for to be aware of bro marketing and how to combat them
  • Remembering to recognize the human side of sales and the importance of customer service
  • Defining anti-bro marketing and how it relates to the anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Outlaw
  • How your intuition will help guide you through bro marketing and help you to trust yourself again
  • What you can do today to create your own anti-bro marketing business

Episode Resources:

Connect with Melanie here:


Speaker 1 (00:11):

It's important to know that bro marketing is not a recent phenomenon, right? It didn't just start to suddenly appear in the last six to 12 months. If we look back at marketing over the last decades, we've likely all experienced or heard of bro marketing in some kind of form. Even before we had online businesses, even before we had the internet, it could have been in the form of car sales people. They always get a bad, bad reputation door to door sales people and even cold coolers. One of their more recent forms of borough marketing that I've experienced in person is when going to buy a new phone on a contract, at least here in the UK. When you go to the store to buy a new phone and contract, it always feels very uncomfortable. It's like that situation that you just don't want to, you just don't want to go there because you know that they're going to probably talk to your husband or someone else instead of you.

Speaker 1 (01:05):

And they're going to treat you like, you don't know what you're doing and that's been my experience and you just, you have to be so careful of what you're signing and you have to double check everything. And it's such a shame that that's the experience. I've also experienced this as a employee. When I was in my corporate career company that I worked for they had sales bonuses, but we were not allowed to call them sales targets, all bonuses. That's not what they were. That is what they were, but we weren't allowed to call them that. So the idea that we would sell products and the more expensive the product was, so therefore the more money the company made or received, the more bonus the individual would get, right? The more it would, the more it would contribute towards their target. And you were like graded almost on how much you would make.

Speaker 1 (01:56):

And you were given a financial bonus at the end of every quarter, based on that number. Well, that's not a sales target and a bonus. I don't know what it is, but that was an experience I actually had fast hand. And let me tell you, I hated it. I absolutely hated it, but that's a story for another day. The point being the bro marketing is not a recent phenomenon. Yes, cooling it, bro. Marketing. That's more recent, but this isn't just suddenly start to happen. It's been around for decades and it's been taught through corporations and sales teams over and over again. And then as we saw the rise of online business and more specifically online business coaching, we naturally started to see this occur in the online space too. Now it's also important to recognize the bro marketing is actually not gender specific, right? These marketing tactics are actually used by various genders.

Speaker 1 (02:48):

But if we go back to the beginning of online marketing and business, it seems to start with a small group of people. And that group of people happen to identify as male using business coaching tactics and LP tactics. And they still T they still tend to dominate their industry, right? They dominate their industry is still so over the last year and a half, I spent a lot of time investigating bro marketing, looking into it, trying to understand my own experience, talking to other people about this. I've heard so many stories and I really wanted to find a hard definition of what bro marketing is. And there's a few people talking about it in the online space, but there's no clear definition. And when I sat down to think about what pro marketing is and how we can define it, I realized that there isn't one definition.

Speaker 1 (03:39):

And then actually we have two ways that we have to define it. The first is that it's calculated manipulative marketing, that preys on people's insecurities. And it uses that trauma and their fears to scare them into buying something. This isn't just on sales calls. We see this in advertising on Instagram feeds Facebook groups, wherever it might be. We see in email funnels and email sequences, we see in tripwires upsells and down sells and click funnels. We see it across a business. It's calculated because it doesn't happen by accident. It's been taught through these circles and then it's used with intention. It is calculated. It's manipulative because they know it works. And they know that if they keep doing it, they will continue to make more and more money. It preys on people's insecurities because it's feeding into our worst fears, right? Imagine some, imagine your worst fears, the things that you think about yourself, that you know, that you maybe don't like or you're insecure about, and someone else is actively putting these things out there for the whole world to see somebody else is actively using your insecurities and fears on social media posts in an email funnel, they using them on sales pages so that you will be so afraid that you will buy something.

Speaker 1 (05:06):

An example of this that I always come back to, and it's not just in business because it's across industries and niches. An example of this is in the diet culture industry. The only way diet culture exists is because we have been told that being fat is the Westland you could be, right? That is at the very core of it. That's what we've been told. So the idea of being

Speaker 2 (05:39):


Speaker 1 (05:41):

Or whatever you want to you, I have a time you want to use terrifies most people. And so it's very easy to market weight loss. It's very easy to market diets, right? That's why this continues to make so much money because it's so easy to prey on people's insecurities. Because for decades, we have been told that we don't want to be this way and you all this way, you should be ashamed of yourself. So they continue to pray on this, using your trauma and fears to scare you into buying something. We also know that it doesn't work. So if you continue through that cycle, you continue spending money on something that continues to not work. Funnily enough, this is what also happens in the business coaching industry, right? This is what continues to happen in the business coaching industry. Because so often the results, the promised all full, very few, they're not going to happen for the majority of people.

Speaker 1 (06:46):

They're like the top 1% of customers or clients. But when we try and it doesn't work and we told, well, you didn't do it. You didn't want it hard enough. You've got limiting beliefs. We keep investing. We keep spending money to continue to try to get these results, right? We continue spending money on something that isn't working. So the second way, well, the second definition of burn marketing is scripted sales tactics. The often encourage someone to get into debt, to make a payment promising, unrealistic, and privilege results that do not take into cancer. It do not take into account someone's unique circumstances. I have both experienced these sales tactics, and unfortunately I have used these sell tactics, even when I was like sweating on a cool and I hated them. I use them because time and time again, I was told, this is what works.

Speaker 1 (07:45):

This is what works. And I'm sure it does, but it didn't work for me because I hated it. I was so uncomfortable. So these scripted sales tactics, their own cools, they're often done in a way where we, what the coach or the person who's running the business is manipulating the customer client. They're manipulating the conversation. They will, they won't actually coach the person. They will just repeat what the person has said back to them, right? This is a really common tactic used you just repeat back to the person. And there are people that works for, right? But there are also many of us who will go. That's what I just said, because this is a really common tactic used among business coaches to just repeat back the same thing, right? Giving the illusion that you understand the person, because they're like, yeah, I feel that way too. That's because you just said it, the promise unrealistic and profit results, right. This often looks like, again, that kind of top percent of students or clients who get results, who get these amazing results. Like I made six figures in my first month, or I paid back the program in two weeks. Does this happen? I'm sure it does. Does it happen for everyone? Absolutely not.

Speaker 1 (09:14):

And they don't take into con into account. Someone's unique circumstances. You can't talk about bro marketing without talking about privilege. Right? You cannot talk about brand marketing without talking about privilege because majority of these businesses in that top percent who both get these results or continue to coach these results, there is privilege. I always think of the Maybelline outfit. Right. You know, maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline. It's like, maybe it's manifestation. Maybe it's just privilege. Right? Most of the time it is just privilege. It's not actually manifestation. It's actually just privilege. So we have to be aware of this as consumers, but also as business owners.

Speaker 1 (10:01):

So what does this look like? Right? What does bro marketing look like? It's often driven by money. We all need to make an income. Money's great. Not complaining about it, but the difference is that when something is driven by money, that's the only thing, right? This is what we see. When we see the six-figure benchmark, we see businesses that talk, talk and talk about how much money they're making. They PR they do that. Like income reports or whatever is like, nobody's doing an income report for $150 a month, right? They're all like making six figures or however much money, right? So they do the income report. So they talk about money or they call themselves a six figure coach, or I help seven figure business owners, scale to eight figures. You know, that kind of stuff. It's driven by money. And that's the sole purpose of their marketing.

Speaker 1 (10:48):

They're promising more money, which is really unrealistic because nobody can promise you more money unless the hiring year. And they're going to actually pay you that because more money, the money that you make, the income you make is based on what you do. So again, taking into consideration, unique circumstances, if you can't actually follow the framework or perhaps the framework doesn't fit into your life, well, then you're not going to get that result. So we need to be really cautious when we look at anything that's driven by money. Okay. Look through that. Is there anything else in there or is it just about how much money you're going to make?

Speaker 2 (11:25):

They use shame

Speaker 1 (11:27):

And a FOMO in their marketing, right? So they will use this idea that if you you're going to miss out, it's going to close the doors. The doors are gonna open again, whether they open next week or you just joined the funnel again, or they're going to open next year, but they will open again, right. Giving ourselves time to really think about investments is really important. I like to think about this in a sense, am I genuinely going to be upset if I didn't do this in a few weeks? Or am I just going to forget about it? Because so many times in the past I would be, I would like drive myself crazy, worrying and concerned about this thing that I really wanted to invest in. All my friends were doing it. And then like three weeks, I just didn't care. Right. That's a sure fire sign that we shouldn't be doing it.

Speaker 1 (12:12):

So they use a lot of FOMO. There's also going to be a lot of shame. You're going to be made to feel guilty for not investing. You're going to be told that this is it right. There's a lot of marketing around. This is the only thing I am the answer to your problems. There's going to be a lot of repetitive marketing. You're going to see the same things repeated over and over and over again, in some cases, this is okay. Right. In some cases it's okay. You have to, you have to filter and decide when is repetitive marketing. Okay. And when is it actually bordering on bro marketing and manipulation?

Speaker 1 (12:50):

They're going to make big and false promises of success. Right? Coming back to these, like I made my investment back in three weeks, right? These are big, big promises and not always true. You're going to see a lot of if I can do it. So can you marketing? There's a lot of people talking about this at the moment. And I realized how much I used to use this in my own health and fitness business, because I genuinely at the time believed, oh, well, if I can do it, so can anyone. And then when people didn't get results, I'd be like, well, what's, I would then be like, what's wrong with me? Why am I not helping them? And as you can see, this is a really, this is a really difficult cycle because depending on the person you are, you're either going to blame the client or you're going to blame yourself.

Speaker 1 (13:42):

In my case, I blamed me. I was like, why aren't they getting results? What am I doing wrong? Oh my God, I'm a crap coach. It's like, no, it's actually, because what works for you? I mean, at the time I was worth 30. Maybe isn't going to work for somebody using that fifties, low sixties. And all the understanding and knowledge is fine, but you don't with them. You can't like help them. And S and you can actually do the things for them. So they have to be able to do it for themselves. So the idea that if I can do it, so can you just, isn't true. This is what we get into, like meeting people where they are and having to actually understand what that means in all businesses and actually understand what it means to meet somebody where they are, because it might mean checking your own ego at the door and having to change the way you do things, right. Alana, new way of doing things. Oh, referring them to somebody who could actually help them. If you can. You're going to see a lot of social proof and testimonials that have zero context. I saw her sales page. The other day, I went into like a little hello, comparison spiral. And I hadn't been there for a while. And I saw this ad on Instagram and I happened to recognize the past and in the photo. And that is why I was like, oh, and I clicked on it to see what was going on. And instantly I was just like, right. It was just very,

Speaker 2 (15:06):

It was

Speaker 1 (15:06):

Very, it was driven by Burma Katanning. It was driven by money. There was shame. And that was far more used. And there was these big promises of success and making $250,000 in a quarter, all this kind of stuff, complete tunnel for me. Yeah. I couldn't let it go. It was really bugging me. One of the things I found as I scrolled through this page and the ad vote was for challenge. When you were going to learn how to build a courses, business was all these like snapshots of comments from Facebook, where they said, I have 815 people sign up for my challenge. I'm so excited. I might get to a thousand and this was repetitive. And they were all around a similar number. Right. And they were talking about, they had these sign-ups for these things. And they all had like over 800 signups. I'm sitting there thinking, wow, that's a lot of signups, but there's no context here.

Speaker 1 (16:02):

Maybe these people have like 50,000 people on their email list. Maybe they have 50,000 followers on Instagram. I don't know. There was no context of who these people were, what kind of businesses they run, how big their audiences are. There was no context. And this is the, this is the biggest thing. I've had this conversation a lot on Instagram with people talking about testimonials and social proof. How do we give context, right. As business owners, right? What do we need to think about and consider? And this is really important because if you're giving zero context, sure. It might look glorious. It might look amazing, but it doesn't tell people the whole story. It leaves out significant parts of the process and strategy.

Speaker 1 (16:50):

The final thing I wanted to mention was hidden prices. This is something I've talked about before, but if I go to a sales page and I have to really hunt for that price tag, or there is not a price tag, and I have to jump through hoops to actually find out how much it's going to cost or even a starting price, then I'm already turned off. Now there's a lot of debate about this, okay? Because in the service-based industry, especially if you have packages, which are customized to your audience, there's a lot of, okay, but people don't read and that's true, right. We tend to not read the styling from, and we, you know, maybe we just see the price and we're like, oh, that's it, that's it within my budget. But this is really important because we can, as business owners, we can manage this.

Speaker 1 (17:43):

You don't have to, if you have customized packages, you can talk about the Stein price. Or you can say typically from you can also, you couldn't talk about what those packages may be include and you can price. Each section really have to find what works for you. But at this point, hiding your prices and making people book cool fast so that you can waste that time and your own time only to tell them how much it costs. And then for them to be really disappointed and to feel uncomfortable and you to have wasted this time. I just don't know what the point is. Right. I get that there's people who want to do that because they believe that their sales tactics and their sales script is so solid that they will convert everybody or convert a high percentage. But then we're talking about brand marketing at that point.

Speaker 1 (18:31):

So it's really about deciding where you're going to be on that scale. Right. Is there anything wrong with having an application for absolutely not pre-qualify people, but one of the ways in which you can pre-qualify these people is by asking them, what's your budget, right? What's your budget because if they come through and they say that their budget is, I don't know, less than a hundred dollars or less than $500, and you don't have anything that fits in, you know, that you can just email them and say, Hey, you know what, here's the thing, my price has started this. I noticed I noticed your budget. So what I'm going to do is refer you to a couple of other people who might be, who might work. You know, it might work for you.

Speaker 1 (19:13):

Don't don't doubt how important customer service is. Even if you're not going to be taking on that person. It's really important. And being able to manage people's expectations from the get-go really important. That's the difference between brand marketing and ethical and human fast marketing, right? You considering the human being, you're not just considering your bottom line. So we have to learn to recognize and remove borough marketing from our own businesses fast. This is really important. We have to do the individual work behind the scenes because this is how we collectively change things. We can't just go out there and like an Instagram post or share someone else's post or their thoughts. That's not going to change anything if you're not actively checking in with your own marketing and your own sales copy and your own funnels and launches. And I want to say that you're doing the work and it still comes up.

Speaker 1 (20:08):

It's fine. This happens for me all the time. I will be walking through something and all of a sudden I'll be like, oh, it has to look this way, or I have to do it this way, or I have to launch in this way. And hopefully I can catch myself and be like, do I, why do I have to do it this way? Why am I, why am I killing myself to make it look this way? Or why am I telling myself the launch has to be this length of time? Why am I not able to do all my own times? And that's really what being an entrepreneurial Alura is, is learning how to do business on your own times, challenging the status quo, which in this case is bro marketing and then doing things on your own times. And I understand that sometimes it feels like bromocriptine is the only solution because it seems to make so much money.

Speaker 1 (20:56):

But in my experience, it didn't make me a whole lot of money because I felt so uncomfortable and disgusting every time I tried to do any of these tactics, I mean, I was taught the stack method, which is a webinar method taught by him, am a business owner still by Russell Brunson. And he uses the stack method as a webinar method. And I watched this method used over and over and over again. And, oh my God, I hate it. Every single minute of it, every time I tried to do it, I hated it so much. And you know, it never worked because I was just so uncomfortable. And so what I have found possibly works for me is that when I'm really in the flow, when I really excited about a project I'm working on, when I can actually talk about it all the time and not get bored of myself and not get scared, I mean, sometimes I get scared, but not too scared, then it, you know, I can still sell things and I can still make money and I can still engage with people and communicate and collaborate and connect and build a community.

Speaker 1 (21:58):

And I do it on my own times. So you have to find what works for you. And as I said, I think sometimes for me, I feel like my threshold for bro marketing is a lot lower. I feel like I don't have the capacity for it, but I feel like slowly, I'm starting to go, okay, well maybe this is okay. Maybe I don't want to do it, but maybe this is okay. And it's about understanding where in, in your business, aware as a customer, when you're investing in things, what are you going to stand for and what you're going to stand against? So when we look at brand marketing, right, this is the status quo. So what is, what is, how do we challenge that? What is the anti bro marketing? Well, it's being an entrepreneur, outlaw doing things on your own times. And we've talked about the anatomy of an entrepreneurial outlook before on the show, but I wanted to go back over the six characteristics with you today.

Speaker 1 (22:52):

So the first one is having a really clear vision for your business. Okay. Having a really clear vision for what you want as a business owner, what do you want? What do you need really understanding and identifying what that looks like for your own business and your own lifestyle, not worrying about everyone else, worrying about your business. The second is identifying what you need from each area of your business. This is really important, right? Really important. Because so often we don't think about what we need. We think about, oh, I want to dream big because that's what we've been told. And that's all great. I want everyone to dream big, but also understanding what we need and identifying that. What do we need from social media? What do I need from Instagram? This is something we've been discussing inside of the outlook collective. And it has been fascinating because as we've really dove into this topic, we're like, oh, well, what do I need from my email marketing?

Speaker 1 (23:40):

And look at how I respond to email marketing in comparison to how I respond to Instagram. It's really, really fascinating. The third is getting curious. He probably had me talk about curiosity so much on this podcast. And that is because I value curiosity so much gang curious, and your business asking yourself questions, no shame, right? Shame does not belong here. We're not allowed to be. We're not allowed to shame ourselves into challenging the status quo. This is about coming from compassion and gentle, loving, because we need to be curious and ask ourselves questions about why do we feel this way? Right? So when I have this moment of, oh my God, I have to do this in a sound way. It has to look this way. I'll be like, well, hang on. Why, why do I believe this? What could the, what could the alternative be?

Speaker 1 (24:33):

If I did it a different way, what would that look like? How would that feel? Right. It's a lot about how we feel. It's a lot about our feelings. The fullest is driven by creative creativity and passion. This is the fourth characteristic of an entrepreneurial outlaw is creativity and passion, right? That's what we're driven by. So when we were talking about bro marketing, I said that it's often driven by money. Like that's the only thing. Well, often an entrepreneur outlaw in my experience would driven by creativity and passion. We're driven by doing the thing, helping people, helping the collective, right? Doing things better and differently, making sure that people are treated fairly doing what is right. Not ways easy. That is often where we stand.

Speaker 1 (25:25):

The fifth characteristic is intuition, right? Tapping into your intuition and your inner wisdom. This is a regular practice. And sometimes, and I'm going to raise my hand, hit your intuition will speak up and you'll be like, Nope, I'm just going to ignore you. And I'm just going to do the thing that I'm thinking I should do. But let me tell you, your intuition is always right. Your intuition is always right. And it's really about recognizing and understanding how to hear your intuition, trusting your intuition, trusting yourself. Those are really big milestones being an entrepreneur outlaw. Cause a lot of the time we're taught to know like, and we're taught to emulate know like, and trust in our businesses. But through that process, we forget to know like, and trust ourselves. So we actually need to reverse that. Don't worry about getting your audience to know like, and trust you actually learn to know like, and trust yourself and your audience will come.

Speaker 2 (26:25):

The sixth

Speaker 1 (26:25):

Characteristic is your core values. This is your anchor. This is the belief system that you have about online business. It's probably rooted in how, why you got started in your business. It's your probably your mission statement. It's everything you believe the good pot, right? It's all that goodness that you wanted in your business when you first started. And over time, I know that that can get a little bit lost and we can lose our way. We can lose sight of why we started, but holding onto the anchor, really understanding what those values are, and also understanding that you can have many values, but you may have just a handful of values that you're really, really important or focusing on right now. And that's okay. But checking in with yourself on a regular basis is really going to help you to continue this work and continue building an anti marketing business. Right? And anti-marketing business doesn't mean less money. It doesn't mean less clients. It just means that you're doing things on your terms, right? You're running your business as an entrepreneurial outlaw, and you're outlawing all of the crap and the that we see on a regular basis. And you're avoiding that. And you're learning how to create and deliver your own business in your own way, in a way that's ethical and human fast and focused on your people.

Speaker 1 (27:52):

So I want to give you a little tip on how to get started with this, right? How to really stop, because next week, we're going to dive into a bit deeper. But today I want to give you a tip, start by identifying what you need. Okay. This is really important in the outlet channel. There is a whole section. There are 12 journaling prompts on your needs, identifying what you need. I give you prompts and questions and thoughts to help you identify what it is you need in your business. If you haven't gotten out copy of the outlaw journal and you would like to start this practice, you can head to Melanie nights.com forward slash shop and click on the outlaw journal. And you can buy a copy from there. But this is really important. Start by identifying what you need. If there was a framework and maybe one day they will be, maybe there will be an outlaw framework, but if there was, this would be the fast thing, knowing what you need critical cause right.

Speaker 1 (28:47):

You know what you need. Well, that's half the battle. Now you can start developing all the other areas. And I found that the easiest way to do this is through self-inquiry generally right. Business journaling. This is what business generally is understanding what we need from our business, understanding how we feel about business. Be curious about what you're feeling and experiencing right now and then where you want to move to. Okay. So that's really important. Understand, be curious about what you're feeling and experiencing now and then where you want to move to in your business. And as I said, if you want to grab a copy of the outlaw channel, you can head to Melanie nights.com forward slash shop. You'll see all of the books that we have published so far and the outlet journal is right there. So you can grab a copy and go through the 12 prompts.

Speaker 1 (29:35):

You can start with that section and you can go through those prompts and let them guide you. So that's today's episode in our next episode, which is going to air on August 19th, because we are taking a little break between episodes at the moment in the summer, we're going to talk about five ways to grow a business without using bro marketing. Okay. So today we've talked about what marketing is. We've defined it, we've explored it. And I've given you a little action between now and then next episode, we're going to actually look at the ways you can grow your business without using it. And this is really important because I think there is a big myth that if you don't use these tactics, it means slow growth. It means no growth. It means less money. And it really doesn't right. It really, really doesn't. I have seen big growth in my business without using brand marketing.

Speaker 1 (30:28):

And I've seen steady growth and maintain sustained growth in my business without using brand marketing. And I really believe that it is dependent on the season. You are in your business, a season that you are experiencing. So we're going to talk about that next week. That's one of the steps we're going to step. We're going to step into it. We're going to dive into that next time on August 19th. So make sure that you go to your podcast, play subscribe to entrepreneur Outlaws so that we automatically download your podcast player. When we, when we air a new episode on August 19th, and I hope you have a wonderful couple of weeks in between time as always make sure you're following us on Instagram, entrepreneurial underscore Outlaws. That is where we're posting all of our content in between. And we're also exploring more and more topics that we're getting ready because in September we will be back to weekly episodes. So we're going to be doing a whole brand refresh for the podcast. And Penn was celebrating off fuss year, October 1st, we will be one and I'm really excited. So we've got some really big, exciting plans for October. So make sure you're subscribed so that you don't miss a thing. And I will see you in a couple of weeks until next time, outlaw.