My mother says it more eloquently. “He isn’t lying, he handles the truth recklessly.” Statistically, we are exposed to over five thousand marketing messages a day. How do we know who to trust?
Marketers entice us with offers too hard to resist, results too good to be true and guarantees that are impossible to fulfill. Yet, somehow we believe them, the evidence of our belief is in the billions of dollars we spend every year on their products; we want to believe them. A pill to cure this, a product to cause that. What we do know is this, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
The obvious ones — Lose 16 pounds of belly fat in 14 days! The not so obvious ones — Save 10% on your insurance in 15 minutes. We’ve been coaxed and prodded, persuaded and cajoled, seduced and flattered into thinking we can be thinner, healthier, richer, stronger, faster, better, happier, safer and more wanted if we simply use their product. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to tell who is shooting straight and who is pushing the needle on the lie-o-meter.
Seth Godin on marketing, “Marketing is storytelling.” Godin on truth in marketing, “The truth is elusive. No one knows the truth about anything.” I one time had a boss that used to say, “It’s tough to live a straight life in a crooked world.” The comment made me feel like I HAD to bend the truth in order to get ahead, close a deal and succeed at anything in life.
What it comes down to is this (and here is your one word); what’s your intention? Are you focused more on yourself or your customer? There is a fine line between attention getting and misleading. And if you are the one making the offer, what happens next is completely up to you. Professional marketers understand there is power in their words and they take the user experience and results into account. Their intention is to be truthful yet creative. They may be great storytellers but they care about their market, because they don’t see them as a market. They see their market as people, human beings, individuals using their products and services. They also care about their company and their reputation. Liars only see dollar signs, signed contracts and closed deals. If their products and services also benefit their market, that’s just a bonus.
If your intention is to help others by solving their problems, you’re a professional. Focus on what is important, helping your customer. While meeting goals, deadlines and quotas are all critical elements in business, make sure you have your priorities in line as well. Align your intentions with exceeding customer expectations, adding value to your relationships, solving problems and being a better you.
So when you see products claiming to cure the common cold, reduce wrinkles overnight, boost your bottom line by 80%, or reduce your bottom by 20 pounds in 20 days, you may want to steer clear of the sales pitch that comes next, they may not have the best of intentions. Make it your goal to keep your focus on what it takes to earn the business while keeping the best of intentions in mind. Your customers will be happy, and so will you.
MaxCo Advisors, May 2016