People ask me a lot about “truth in marketing.”  Is all marketing hype?  Can you be a successful marketer without somehow “tricking” people?  That sort of thing.

It’s something I care very much about because: marketing, as practiced today, bloodies many ethical boundaries.  And, as a result, I use truthfulness as a powerful tool (imagine that?!).  In fact, it’s my “secret weapon” for my clients.  And yes, that paints a rather dismal picture of the level to which most marketing rises. . .because. . .well, it is a rather dismal picture.  Bad for them, good for us.

Here’s what I believe-

  • Connect with what’s important to your audience.
  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Treat people with respect.

Here’s what I mean in the context of “truth in marketing”-

Connect with what’s important to your audience

If you do this, you don’t need those bombshell claims that fuel the perception that marketing is somehow dishonest (because many of them are).  Show me a hard-to-believe-way-over-the-top claim and I’ll show you a lazy marketer.  Why not take the time to understand what’s really important to your audience and talk about that instead of some stupid claim you think will really stop ’em?!

Set realistic expectations

So. . .have you ever heard of the concept of word-of-mouth marketing?  Obviously not, if you’re the type who pushes every claim to the edge.  Expectations not met means bad word-of-mouth.  People feeling tricked means bad word-of-mouth.  And since the opposite is also true, why wouldn’t you want to set realistic expectations, meet them and create an army of salespeople out there who will tell their friends good things about you?

Treat people with respect

I”ll assume you’ve heard of the internet since you’re reading this.  Why, then, would you try to push people into making a decision — to CLOSE them?  Prospects have the control, you don’t.  Whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone or on the net, people don’t like pressure.  Don’t pressure them, treat them with respect, and you’ll win more business.

The conversation about truth in marketing is less about ethics as it is about simply doing what works.  I believe, no, I know, being honest with people is a better strategy over the long-term.

So, all you lazy marketers out there, keep shoveling the crap.  You provide the contrast that helps my clients stand out!