We live in a world where it’s hard to cover up the truth. The digital era has led to instant, unfiltered product reviews. Products or services are praised—and more often berated—via Facebook updates or tweets. Blog posts offer the “inside scoop” on a business’s actions, good or bad.
Which ultimately means, in this day and age, that you can’t afford to have dishonest marketing.
- If you position your business as having “Unrivaled Customer Service” on all of your marketing materials, but your only “customer service” is an automated “Press 1 for account information” response, you are misleading your customers.
- If you say your restaurant “uses only the freshest ingredients” and has “the friendliest staff in town,” but your salads are full of brown, withered lettuce and your waiters are simply “waiting” for their next smoke break, your customers will notice…and they’ll tell their friends.
- If your commercials offer the “fastest delivery in town” and people are waiting 45 minutes for their sandwiches, it won’t be long before your myth of a selling point is publicly debunked, Mythbusters-style.
Bottom line? Misleading your customers will catch up to you, whether it’s in the form of an online review or an angry, negative tweet. The digital world has made transparency not just a preference, but a full-fledged expectation. And if you aren’t marketing yourself genuinely, it won’t be long before the world finds out (and shares the news with its entire social network).
As a final example, think about Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film, “The Shining.” Many people consider it the scariest movie they’ve ever seen. So imagine how outraged moviegoers would have been if they’d gone into the movie expecting this:
Most of us know the real movie is not quite as…cheery…as this mock-trailer would have you believe. Keep that in mind when you think about your upcoming marketing efforts. Because if you’re trying to pull the wool over your customers’ eyes, the only person who will end up fooled is you.
Keep it genuine. It’ll pay off in the long run.
What’s your experience with disingenuous marketing? Do you tell your network when you feel like a company or business has mislead you? Which companies do you think truly stick to their brand promise? Let us know with a comment!
Photo by Keng Susumpow. Thanks Keng!