When you are in the marketing industry, some veterans may tell you that you need to be prepared to make something seem good, even if it’s not. When I was rewatching The Big Bang Theory the other day, Penny (one of the main characters) talked about how her company’s new drug product had a 10% chance of causing a mental health disorder. However, she was never expected to say that to the doctors they were selling the drug to. Instead, she was supposed to say that it would give the patient a 90% chance of getting better.
I had to pause the screen and ponder about it. The reality was that marketing schemes like that were prevalent in comedic TV shows and real life. You would see all kinds of products on the market, but you would rarely hear their marketers talking about their harmful effects. Some people might insist on asking about those things, but the marketer might go as far as saying that it would be a little more expensive than what other brands could offer come up, but then they do a U-turn and try to upsell their goods again.
Why You Should Not Do That
I decided to build a marketing agency a few years ago. Various companies would contact us to help promote their products online or offline. My initial idea was to hire talented marketers because I assumed that they would know their clientele better than others at this point. They might even have some cool tricks under their sleeves to increase their sales.
However, during one of my surprise visits at our promo location, I watched first-hand how one of my marketers practically lied about the adverse sides of the energy drink we had on display. I would have overlooked it if it was sugar-coating, but they said it had zero side effects. Zero!
Most people who heard that went away from the booth as fast as possible. I could not blame them because it was impossible to get a perfect product, especially in the required decades of research. Even the best products that we currently have are still not excellent, and to claim otherwise was an insult to others’ intelligence.
Before I needed counseling for my mental health, I called everyone back to the office that day and gave them a lengthy lecture about maintaining good karma as marketers.
The most fundamental way is to become transparent about the things you know about your selling product. For instance, if you are knowledgeable about its good effects, it would be great to emphasize. It would even be better if you could share scientific information about them.
Now, considering you have no idea what your potential consumer asked about, it would not be wrong to say that that aspect is currently under development. “Still, not having that in your current product will not diminish its goodness, so you should still try it.” This is much more recommendable than lying.
Use Real People
Although it is good to have marketers on-site to explain a product’s benefits to people, it would also be ideal to hire individuals who have genuinely experienced the goodness of it. You may often see this scheme in holistic companies, considering their products and services may not always be proven by research. Thus, they need people to prove their value and essence to others.
Is this lying? Of course, it isn’t. Just make sure to put any effort into finding the ones whose lives genuinely changed for the better because of the products instead of opting for posers.
Admit Your Misgivings
One more technique that marketers should use is claiming the things that your product cannot do from the beginning. You may start with, “This is not for you if you can’t do this or that or you can’t have this or that.”
It may sound a bit negative, but such a disclaimer gives people a realistic expectation about what they can get from you. It would also allow you to filter through individuals who show genuine interest in availing of your products.
Karma can come in various forms when you are a marketer. The quickest one is receiving bashing on social media platforms. That’s terrible because millions of people may read disgusting comments about your brand. But what can be worse than that is a product recall or license suspension due to the falsehoods that your employees have been spreading. Either may push you to file for bankruptcy in no time, and that’s not ideal for anyone.
If you want to avoid negative karma, you need to stay truthful to your consumers. Be honest about what your products can do; be upfront about what they CAN’T do. Everyone will appreciate you for it – trust me.