Why Marketing Often Has To Overcome Ultracrepidarianism
An issue dating back to the fourth century B.C.
As pointed out a few days ago on Twitter by Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and now a venture capitalist, ultracrepidarianism is “the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.”
This term is derived from a comment made by Greek artist Apelles to a cobbler who criticized one of his paintings: “Sutor, ne supra crepidam” (“Cobbler, stick to your last“), i.e. critics should only comment on topics they are proficient about.
IMHO, marketing often has to overcome ultracrepidarianism because it combines two characteristics:
- It (mostly) targets members of the general public who feel therefore entitled to comment on what they see/read/hear and, doing so, slide imperceptibly from expressing a taste preference to stating a supposedly professional judgment.
- Unlike other activities targeted to the general public, it isn’t always obvious that marketing is a very technical, highly complex activity requiring a steep learning curve.
This is why marketers must often morph into pedagogues explaining a discipline that so many people think they know all about when they don’t.