Let’s talk about e-courses for a minute. In fact, let’s use a really specific example because you’re seeing everyone and their cat’s affiliate links for it.
Let’s talk about the ultra-hyped, ultra-sexy B-School.
For the uninitiated, B-School is a basic, 101-level marketing and branding course offered annually by Marie Forleo. So if it is so basic, why is it so popular? And why are so many people talking about it?
Why B-School is So Successful
1. Anything For Beginners Always Has A Market
The thing with beginners is that there are always people who are beginners. It’s a hot market to be in because the buyers are always going to be there. This is also why it is such a competitive space.
2. Marie is Hot and Successful
Photos with Oprah, Richard Branson, and a killer breakthrough story? Don’t feel bad for wanting to be this woman. From outside appearances, she has it going on and has an envy-worthy platform. She’s also built a million-dollar company from the ground up – she’s clearly got the chops to run a business program.
3. The Marketing is Absolutely Fucking Brilliant
Highly produced videos, celebrity, and making you feel like her new best friend? Marie knows exactly how to get you to crack open your wallet.
4. Tons of Women Have Already Done This Course… And No One Wants To Look/Feel Like An Idiot.
$2000 is some serious cash for most people. Losing $2000 on something I didn’t believe in and get tons of value out of would hurt my pride. (Like, for instance, most of my college classes. Ouch.) More than that, if I didn’t feel like it was worth it, it would be hard for me to talk about.
Because I don’t want you to think I’m stupid.
But according to Mixergy, I wouldn’t have been alone, since a 1/5 of B-School buyers asked for a refund back in 2011. At the risk of sounding a little salty droid here, I think is B-School capitalizing on making women feel like they don’t know what they are doing. I think it is the female equivalent of the hundreds of male-dominated internet marketing thousand dollar products.
And whether it’s intentional or not, and I think it is, it’s selling popularity. It’s the cool kids club. It’s the same reason people keep buying e-products from A-listers when really it’s a lot of fluff and regurgitated content.
Here’s the big huge disclaimer
I have not taken B-School. It’s not a brand I resonate with anymore. It’s very 101-level material, and I’d rather read HBR. B-School might be the best business 101 course on the planet for all I know.
But even if it were, that’s not why people are buying it.
Now, there are amazing e-courses out there. Randi’s courses? Incredible value. They also solve very specific problems. There are so many wonderful things to learn while we’re on the planet, and it is a huge blessing that we can learn them from a computer now. It’s amazing that teaching is a more level playing field now, and some piece of paper that says you showed up to class and crammed and all that isn’t the only qualifier for a teacher.
I’m not saying e-products don’t provide value. Especially if you actually need to learn something in them. But most of the time you don’t. You buy it because you want to feel a certain way. And it might make you feel that way for a little while.
But I guarantee nothing you buy will make you feel that way sustainably.
How many of these courses and books that are supposed to change your life have you bought? How many actually have?
Okay, now stop arguing for a second. Stop trying to justify all of the money you’ve wasted on these programs.
What do you think you’re going to get by spending all of this money? Is it a pat on the back? Is it the glory of being one of those women in “the club” now?
Is this your inner, rejected, high-school self trying to get outside validation? If it is, take a step back and reconsider before you drop any more money.
Do you you honestly need another product about basic branding, marketing, and tone? Or are you trying to buy a quick fix? An answer to all your problems?
And before I get trolled for this post, which I doubtlessly will, this isn’t actually about Marie or any other A-lister. This is about you. Are you in business for the long haul or the quick buck? Are you letting yourself get taken advantage of because you think there is an easy way? (There’s not.)
But this is also about expert marketing.
Are you feeding the machine or blazing your own path and getting the help you need along the way? Because I will venture a guess that if you’re reading this, you probably have enough free resources available to you to make serious headway.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.