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  • Mattia

Conventional Online Marketing is Broken: AuDHD and ethics

I'll keep this brief so you can go over to Samantha K Pollack's Substack to read her excellent post, "Conventional Marketing Ain't Workin' Anymore."


Why this is relevant to AuDHD folks:

  • Many of us are entrepreneurs, freelancers, or contractors at some point out of desire or necessity. This means we have to sell our services.

  • It can be personally satisfying to share about your own journey to help others. For some—including me—this can lead to being a coach or teacher in some form. And the marketing in the coaching world is often deeply problematic and ableist.

  • Many of us refuse to do anything that goes against our values, even if it means we're struggling financially. Since much of the marketing world is distasteful and unethical, we often don't market our work effectively.

  • Even if we never personally engage in marketing, we may find ourselves extremely annoyed by marketing. For me, it often triggers PDA symptoms.

  • AuDHD and online marketing can feel diametrically opposed unless we find a way to engage with it that feels ethical.


Brief excerpts from the article:

(And my comments in regular text after each one)

And the ugly truth is, the majority of students and customers inside some of the most well-known courses & communities are just… hangin’ out there. They’re not achieving the shiny, happy results promised on the fancy sales page. They’re not getting the time, attention, or personalization they thought they’d get, based on the free webinar (that was really just a 90-minute sales pitch).*
And the thing is—they’re not telling anybody about it. 
*How do I know this, you ask? It’s all anecdotal and based on my own experiences, as well as the experiences of my friends & colleagues in the biz. I’ve personally seen a drastic downward trend in the large-scale launches I’ve worked on as a copywriter & email marketing strategist since 2020, and I’ve heard similar stories from other behind-the-scenes service providers. It’s kind of a worst-kept industry secret.

Having personally experienced being in courses that cost 10x what it actually provided me in value... uh, yeah. I've also noticed that it's often the neurodivergent people in the course/program who struggle and don't receive the support they need.

Since we've already been trained by society to think of ourselves as the problem, it's easy to just fade away and not ask for our money back.



It’s vital to become aware of and educated around harmful marketing practices—where they came from, why they’re so effective and pervasive, and all the ways in which these practices are unethical and/or dangerous.

This has been my takeaway in almost every class I've taken around marketing or copywriting. I come away more aware of what I want not to do... and to not be tricked by myself!


Your marketing efforts do NOT have to feel icky, unethical, out of integrity, or like some sort of compromise. You can “do” marketing and feel really good about all of it. You can even like it and find it fun! I swear.

Technically, this website is a form of marketing! And thus, so is this blog post. I'm putting work out there as part of an ecosystem to help people like me so they don't have to waste all the time (and money) I've wasted trying to build a decent life.

Part of what refusing to do what I hate in marketing has looked like includes just... refusing to do what I hate! I'm an incredibly sporadic newsletter sender. I'm gearing up to leave social media permanently, most likely.

But when I lean into what I do love, which includes podcasting, and combine that with my current interests and passions... the right people do find it!


Whoops, I meant to write something really short because I really would love for you to go read Sam's whole article if this resonates with you!



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