Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is it the Truth? Can You Prove It?

Is it the Truth? Can You Prove It?

Seth Godin wrote the book, “All Marketer’s are Liars”. I believe that the title is meant to be tongue in cheek. Unfortunately too many marketers take that title literally and assume that they must lie to be an effective marketer.

The purpose of marketing is to build your business. One of the critical ways to do that is by building relationships, enhancing trust and making your prospects feel confident about buying from you.

Would a lie help you do any of those things?


So why would some marketers lie?

Perhaps they believe that prospects will believe their lies. Perhaps they believe their best clients are stupid and won’t challenge the lies. Maybe they have a short term plan. Sell some bottles of “Doctor Good” then leave town the next day.

Do these liars subscribe to the mantra “There’s a sucker born every minute”?

The following marketing statements look like lies to me because they fail the test of “Is it true?” and “Can you prove it?”

“The most trusted and straight-forward contractor in the business”


Wow! Who decides on that designation? Did your friends decide on that honor while eating your steaks and sipping your wine at the cottage?

This contractor had a half page advertisement in the local newspaper that listed his activities. But none of them addressed the obvious question, “Who declared you The most trusted and straight forward contractor in the business” and what exactly does that mean?

If your mother called you that – then state the source of the label. That might be funny.

Naturally, the word that trips my BS meter is the word “most”.

Canada’s Leading Provider of Financial and Estate Planning Advice”

How does a company become the leading provider of the country? Are they the biggest? Not in this case because this is a relatively small local provider. How are they leading and who granted them that epithet? The next question might be, “Where are they leading people?” Are they leading in revenue or are they leading in losing money?”

The phrase that trips my BS meter in this case is “Canada’s Leading”.

I contacted this company and asked them to explain that label but didn’t receive a reply. I also had to request removal from their email list several times before their emails stopped. Curious, they appeared to be both liars and spammers.

Are these companies leading in bold-faced lies?

Are they leading in their own imaginary worlds?

Why do they feel the need to lie?

The lessons for you:

Absolutes are almost always a lie.
It’s a lie if it’s not the truth.
It’s a lie if it’s out of context.
It could be a lie if you can’t prove it.


George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why can’t you do that?

Why can’t you do that?
The owner of a woman’s clothing store asked me, “What can we do to stand out from the competition?” She posed the question as if she were throwing down a challenge gauntlet.

She added that she had tried to think of something that would differentiate her store from others but had hit a dead end. “There’s nothing we can do.”

I looked at her and responded, “Hmm, let me think a moment.” Perhaps my pause was too long for her because she interjected, “See I told you, there’s nothing.” She actually looked pleased.

I then said, “Let me think out loud and play with this. My understanding is that shopping especially for clothes is different for women than it is for men. Men usually want to get in, buy what they came for and leave. Women treat shopping as an activity. They want to enjoy the experience. What could you do to enhance that experience? How about offering gourmet coffee?”

“Oh no, I can’t do that” she snapped.

“What do you mean you can’t? Perhaps what you really mean is, you won’t”

We discussed this a bit. Naturally her concern was about someone spilling coffee on a garment and possibly ruining it – or at the least creating cleaning charges and discounted merchandise.

Yes, those are real risks. The important question is, would the coffee service generate enough revenue to more that cover those associate costs? That would be easy to measure.

I don’t know if coffee was the right answer for her but it was curious to see how quickly she blocked my first suggestion. She wasn’t ready for change.

If you want to stand out then you need to do something that your competition won’t do. If you really want to differentiate yourself, start listing the common practices or rules of your industry. Then examine each for ways to break that rule or change the practice. Weigh the benefits against the risks. If you still can’t decide then flip a coin. What have you got to lose?

Every change carries a risk. If you want to change you must be willing to weigh and consider the risks, investment and return.

Also keep in mind that ignoring change or refusing to change also carries risks.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, October 04, 2013

Something for everyone

Liar, liar pants on fire!

You don’t have something for everyone. Not even Amazon, Ebay and Kijiji combined have something for everyone.

Individually those websites cover a lot of ground and collectively they are vast in their scope. Yet they don’t have something for everyone. Avoid absolutes in your marketing messages.

This phrase has appeared in the listing for local Garage Sales. How could any one Garage Sale eclipse the offering of Amazon, Ebay and Kijiji?

Yet these amateur marketers seem to think that they’ll attract more visitors by exaggerating - by promising more - than they can deliver. These amateurs seem to think that marketing is about promising the big lie.

Perhaps the lie attracts people but how might those people feel when they arrive and find the seller is a liar? What will they think once they realize that they’ve been tricked? Will the negotiations be friendly?

We visited some Garage Sales this year. I noticed that many buying and selling decisions at the Garage Sales are made on whims. A small thing or feeling nudges the decision.

You might suggest that these Garage Sale operators are indeed amateurs. They don’t know any better. You might be right.

What about professional sellers and marketers? What’s their excuse? Have you noticed that some of them tell lies?

You don’t need to lie to sell. Marketing and selling isn’t a matter of deception. It’s about building trust.

What are you doing to build more trust with your prospects and clients? Test your promises against the truth. Not your truth – the real truth!

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark