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All Marketers Are Liars?

May 19, 2011

I loathe marketing. Well, let me walk that one back a little since I am in Marketing. Off the top of my head, I don’t like:

  • The sheer volume of ads permeating every dark corner of our lives.
  • Speaking of volume, is it really necessary to jack it so much on radio and TV spots? Didn’t they pass a law?
  • Oh, and I get the two tubs thing. I do, now please stop. In fact, would the whole pharmaceutical industry please stop shoving drugs down our throats? Thanks.

Mostly I dislike the spin on every message that often skirts the lying line, but based on what I’ve been reading lately, lying is cool. In the last couple months I’ve seen several articles just on BNET.com regarding lying in business:

Lying to Your Customers? Come on, Everyone’s Doing It
Why Lying Pays Off

And my personal favorite:

Why Women Should Lie Even More than They Do

What a bunch of crap! I try really hard not to lie and I refuse to even go near that line in our marketing, in spite of the assertion on Mr. Godin’s book cover. Recently we had a webinar with a customer talking about their experience with our managed services. It was an unrehearsed, unscripted, and unvarnished Q&A with one of our Business Development Managers. Toward the end of the hour, the customer responded to a question like this:

“We are reconsidering hardware hosting. We’ve made significant changes… deploying VMware, putting in a relatively large SAN, so we’re probably better equipped to host it.”

Ugh… but our customer continued…

“As far as the managed services goes, for us it really was a no brainer. We took a look at our costs of hiring that type of staff expertise in house and it came out to a 47% savings and that didn’t take into account turnover and training, or other soft costs of maintaining that expertise in-house.”

At that point I imagined the customer smiling and waving at the attendees while rounding the bases. A home run.

After the webinar, I received feedback from our internal clients and from attendees. The internal client was disappointed about the hosting comment, but I then shared with him the feedback from one representative attendee :

“Nothing compares to the truth revealed in real-life experiences, such as those described today. Thank you for allowing access to such insight.”

I added, “The fact [customer] mentioned they might take the hardware back in house proved to all attendees that the conversation was honest, and not some scripted BS.  It lent immediate credibility to everything else said during the hour.”

I ain’t lyin’. The truth doesn’t hurt.

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