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  2. Internet Marketing

The Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Marketing

Lately, I’ve been noticing an unsettling trend in the Internet Marketing community.

Many otherwise smart marketers have become enamored with the so-called Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Marketing.

I know, it’s shocking, so we have no choice but to dig into this!

The theory goes something like this:

  1. Give out great CONTENT
  2. ????
  3. Make lots and lots of MONEY!

Of course… it doesn’t take a genius to notice there’s something a little funny about this equation.

As strange as it is… many people have become totally hypnotized by this strange theory!


Fine, you don’t believe in keeping up with the times, that’s alright. I’ll fill you in.

South Park's Legendary Underpants Gnomes
South Park's Legendary Underpants Gnomes

A few years ago South Park had this great skit (okay.. many, many years ago by now) that featured a mysterious gang of gnomes.

Come nightfall, they’d sneak into peoples’ homes and steal underpants, and file them into this great underground lair full of stolen underwear.

When finally exposed, they explained their great plan was this:

The Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Success
The Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Success

Not strange at all, NOOOO! They were adamant they’d make lots of money with this obviously slightly lacking formula.

Man, South Park was genius at its height. Awww.


Good question! I’m not sure myself how this crept up to be – maybe it was all the social media hammering corroding people’s brains, maybe something else. Doesn’t really matter.

What matters though is that a lot of marketers seem to believe in this genius concept:

  1. Give out great CONTENT
  2. ????
  3. Make lots and lots of MONEY!

So what’s wrong with this picture? Why would people get this SO WRONG?

(Personally, I blame it on Frank Kern and his ‘just give content’ spiel – it just flies over peoples heads in its utter simplicity, it seems to me – as true as it is!)

What especially rookie marketers forget (and too many experienced ones too!) is that for content to lead to conversion… not only does it need to be good content and help the prospect…

The content you give out also needs to be geared towards an ultimate payoff, to which your product is the only logical answer!

And similarly, the offer you make must be congruent with the content you’ve been giving out, on a very guttural level.

If you don’t pay attention to what your content will do for your prospects, and that your offer makes perfect sense for that prospect with a heightened sense of expectation… you might as well not bother.

So here’s the Corrected Underpants Formula:

  1. Give out great CONTENT
  2. Present a compelling OFFER congruent with the content
  3. Make lots and lots of MONEY!


A Surprised Gnome Is Starting To See The Light
A Surprised Gnome Is Starting To See The Light

Shocking, I know…

Preparing and priming the crowd with great content absolutely works.

But to make sales at the end of the process… you also need the marketing savvy to craft an offer that works and is POSITIONED right…

AND to gear the content towards that offer so it is the logical extension that unobtrusively pushes them over that fence they’ve been sitting on.

And THAT, my friends…is where the magic happens. If you don’t know how it happens, you got two options:

  1. Learn how to use the evergreen principles of persuasion, conversion and copywriting.
  2. Hire a marketing & copywriting pro who knows how to piece together your marketing puzzle.

That’s about it. Choose one and live with it.

I promise you’ll be a happy marketer ever after. Beats sitting on the fence. 🙂

PS. If you’re going with option #2 and would rather trust someone else to mastermind your promotions, make sure you go with someone with a proven track record. That way you’re not wasting time and make sure you won’t have to second guess anything.

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Comments to: The Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Marketing
  • March 18, 2010

    I just had to take that second click to really visit your site and mention the glaring similarity of this theory to Wincapita.
    .-= Jake´s last blog ..A log house or a log home? =-.

  • March 22, 2010

    Haha! Right you are Jake… The Wincapita model of creating prosperity… the magic bullet lives on.

  • January 4, 2012

    All should embrace the raw POWER of the magic underpants gnomes.

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