Customers Think You’re a Liar

According to this article from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, 76% of consumers don’t believe that you tell the truth in your advertising. For good reason.

Long ago, advertising gurus (probably car dealer ad guys) decided that the truth would get in the way of a slick sales pitch. So instead of telling the truth marketers decided to engage in marketing gymnastics. Ads are now a series of slick advertising acrobatics designed to entertain and hypnotize the consumer into buying products.

So should you even bother with the truth in your advertising? After all, 76% of the population is not going to believe you anyway. That depends on if you are willing to tell the truth in a compelling way.

I spent four hours yesterday morning with 11 entrepreneurs getting to the truth about their business. Most small businesses want to start with telling customers how honest they are and how they have great service. But customers don’t want to hear that, after all: would a liar admit to being a liar? Besides, most customers expect good service and honesty. It’s just the starting point for doing business with you.

You need to dig deep inside your soul and tap your passion. Engage yourself in this exercise:

  1. Define the foundational values by which you operate your business (after you write
    honesty down, scratch it out) and narrow it down to your top three.
  2. Now define the mission of you business, make it a passionate purpose, make it bold, and make it the center of focus for your business, and base it on your values.
  3. Here’s the hard part: Now make a promise to your customers based on your values and your mission. Make it something that customers can care about and value. Then operate your business under that promise.
  4. Make your next advertisement about your promise. Make all future advertisements about your promise.

The secret of marketing is the truth. Customers are tired of being manipulated by gimmicks and flashy routines. They want something that’s real, something that gives them value. They want the truth.

When you start giving your customers the truth based on your promise, customers will be able to distinguish you from the other marketing Pinocchios.

For more on small business marketing, see my website: /
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