Friday, November 21, 2014

Marketing: The Art of Deceit

What is the job or primary function of Marketing?  To sell, right?  At least the last time I looked it up and did a little research on the subject that is what I learned.

Whether you are selling the most up to date new car model or convincing the public that a politician is the real deal you are selling something that you want people to buy, whether with money, interest, or votes.  To do this effectively, do you need to lie in your Marketing?  I guess that is the question that we need to constantly ask ourselves.

First, let's ask ourselves a very basic question; is it possible for an item to attract consumers on its own?  In my opinion the answer would be "no".  I think Marketing is essential to getting the word out about any product in order to attract customers.  Network Marketing companies like to say that they reach millions and billions of dollars in sales without spending a dime on marketing, which is a lie.  Lets me perfectly honest.  The company itself might not spend a dime on Marketing, but their Independent Business Owners or Representatives, or Promoters or whatever they are calling themselves today, are spending lots of money advertising trying to attract customers and team members.  The companies even sell them "Marketing Materials" to use during these efforts and have to approve ads placed and so forth, so regardless of their claims they Market, they just get others to spend the money on it rather than themselves.

Marketing is the life blood of any business.  You have to fill the pipeline in order to ensure that you constantly have flow going through the sales pipeline and that the cycle isn't broken.  Because when the flow shuts off and the cycle is broken it is difficult to rebuild the momentum that you once had.  That is when lay-offs and furloughs happen.

So, we've established by my reasoning that Marketing is essential and that everybody does it whether they admit to it or not.  So the the original question still remains.  Do you need to lie in your Marketing?  Of course the answer is "no".  Lying in Marketing is deceptive.  Some professionals would say that they don't lie, but rather embellish a little, which is completely acceptable in their opinions.  Others outright lie. Whatever you call it, a lie is a lie and wrong.

Recently my wife was on Facebook and came across a sponsored story.  It was talking about a breakthrough new beauty secret endorsed secretly by Oprah and Dr. Oz.  It talked about how this lady was struggling spending hundreds of dollars on creams, serums and lotions only to realize that nothing was working until she "accidentally" stumbled upon two completely separate products from two completely different companies and the results were phenomenal. Within 14 days she looked younger and her skin felt amazing.  There were before and after pictures and testimonials and scientific research and they were offering a month supply trial for only $4.99 so that everybody could  benefit from this "accident".  Not to mention the article claimed that through this person's research they discovered that these were the absolutely lowest priced products on the market. They even claimed to be natural products that used top quality ingredients to achieve results.

My wife asked asked me to take a look at it (since I own a company that sells natural skincare products) and found that the products were quite expensive and had maybe one or two "natural" ingredients and the rest were synthetic man-made ingredients. One serum alone was $86.  Then as for the $4.99 trial, it was for 14 days (even though they led you to believe in the write up that it was a month) and the 14 days were calculated from order date. If the purchaser didn't call within 14 days they would be charged the full purchase price and placed on an auto ship monthly for the same amount.  Needless to say my wife was pretty upset about the deceptive tone in the ad content.

To make things even better about a week later she was on Facebook again and came across another sponsored story.  The ad content or rather "article" was exactly the same as before down to the testimonials and before and after pictures, but this time there were two very different products that supposedly were the miracle breakthrough that people have been looking for.  She had me look the companies up again and they were the same deal, get you hooked with a trial and then charge you after 14 days.

Is this type of deception and downright dishonesty necessary to sell products? Obviously for them it is in order to achieve sales.  Other companies don't use these types of deceptive tactics and do just fine for themselves.  For example, Naturally You! LLC produces a line of natural supplements and skincare products.  Their advertising is straight forward and simple.  They state the facts and share valid testimonials.  The products are based upon scientific research and that's good enough for the ownership. There are many companies out there that use truth and facts that feel that their name and product speaks for itself.  They should be lauded for their integrity.

So what causes some companies to take the route of using deception or lies?  Competition.  It is that simple.  Companies are vying for a finite resource, your dollar.  In order for them to attract your dollar they need to attract you.  To do this in the never ending noise of life they need to hook you with something big and grandiose.  They need to stand out amongst their competition and therefore they resort to overstatements and fudging the numbers and data to suit their needs.  Recently a video of one of the principle architects of Obamacare was discovered in the which he stated that Obamacare was sold based upon the stupidity of the American voter.  Well many products are sold based upon the stupidity of the same person.  That's right we hear outrageous claims that can't possible be true but we purchase the product or service anyway.  If you don't believe me, how many politicians have been "serving" for several terms in office and keep getting voted in?  There you go, we complain that the government is broken and that those in office are the problem, but come election time they make a good marketing pitch and back they go.

How do we change the nature of how Marketing is done?  The answer is by becoming educated on the product, service or individual.  Don't take things for face value, and don't automatically assume that if it is more expensive it must be better because that isn't true either.  Some products are exactly the same, just with a different name plastered over it (ever heard of private labeling?).  Be educated so that people can't pull the wool over your eyes and fool you and read the small print.

Once we as a people stop falling for the glitzs and glamour we can bet that we will start seeing more truth in Marketing.