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What Is Your Credibility Worth?

If you are a marketing person, you often get accused of being full of “IT” and by “IT” I mean the organic substance that is going to help your flowers grow this spring. I don’t blame the critics really because there are many marketing people out there that think they need to embellish everything. You don’t have to look far, our industry is full of stories like that and we all know that the mattress segment can’t afford for the consumer to be turned off by deceptive practices.

Do you believe?
Do you believe?

Here are a few thoughts on why companies do this:

  1. They are lazy. There is no good story around a sub par aspect of their product and instead of doing the work to find something that is legitimately compelling, they simply stretch the truth.
  2. There might actually be a story but they have not pushed their supplier to do the proper testing to make sure that what they are saying puts them on solid ground.
  3. They see others in the industry doing this so in some way think it is okay, or think that they have to in order to stay competitive.
  4. They are flat deceptive and don’t care that what they say is total BS. Sales rule, truth be damned.

Does it really matter? Am I over reacting to the downside of marketing spin? Consider what happens when people’s BS detector goes off:

  1. Start with the people in your own company; they lose confidence in what you are doing. Snake oil salesman are asking their own people to support the junk they are putting out there which makes them an accomplice and puts them in a position to undermine their own credibility. My parents always told me that your word and your name is all you have, so how big a deal is that to some?
  2. Your competition can sniff that out in a second and if you are not supported by data and truth, then your marketing claims will be the target of everyone you are trying to beat. Why in the world would anyone give their competition a good reason to prove that they are not credible?
  3. The end consumer is without a doubt not going to tolerate these shenanigans. Now that social media and word of mouth marketing are so incredibly powerful, people will not only recognize that for what it is, they will smoke you out in the digital space to others. Do the bad actors really think people are stupid? What do you think when a sales person tries to dish you something that is clearly exaggerated just so they can make the sale?
  4. You kill the trust with everyone that you need to believe.

I found this article from Business Insider on what some companies out there have done to mislead their customers. If you are not careful it could cost you millions in legal fees or worse, the respect of your peers and customers.

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