Marketing hype gets under-my-skin, mainly because I know the tricks so see right through the strategy. The problem is that consumers seem to continually get sucked in by the shiny, bright lights, believing words without questioning the context – what the words actually mean.
Here are my top 5 marketing hype tricks to look out for:
- I’ve written a book
Before I started JoElla Marketing, I was listening to a webinar for my employer about how to look bigger than you are. The biggest take away was: be published as an author. Context: Now I bow down in awe to those who have written a book, but it doesn’t mean it’s a significant read. As consumers we need to ask the question: how has the book changed its readers, and has anyone actually read it? As authors we need to write with purpose, not just to be published.
- I’m a speaker/trainer
Per being an author, being a speaker can look pretty important. But, again, it doesn’t mean they’re a good speaker or helped or inspired participants. Context: What do they actually teach? As consumers we need to ask ourselves: do we know their agenda, is it realistic and “if it’s too good to be true” well, you know the saying. As presenters we should have clear outcomes for our audience and not be settled for delivering less.
- Business Award nominations
Applying for business awards is a brilliant way to build a buzz around your business. It gets you better known and if you win you will receive a lot of fabulous, free marketing and PR. Context: Nominations isn’t winning and doesn’t mean the business has followed though with guts to apply to the Award’s judging panel. As consumers, research the award and if it means anything, how do businesses win and get nominated? While as business owners, let’s have some upfront honesty in what the award and/or nomination actually means so it actually means something when we do win them.
- Normally this would cost…
Nothing like a bargain, is there? It can be deemed “clever marketing” to put some big numbers ahead of an actual cost to appear to look like its great value. Context: Perceived value is one thing, but would the business truly expect people to buy at an inflated price? Pricing is a hard thing to get right for business owners and is generally dependent on what the marketplace deems as a fair value for your product. Consumers should be savvy to research the marketplace. Businesses, let’s be honest and have integrity in our pricing.
There are launch parties, a new website, shiny new colours and stationery, but what does it mean and why was the cost to undertake a rebrand needed? Context: Rebranding shouldn’t be a solution to a stale business or fledgling sales. As consumers, ask why a new logo and design is needed. As business owners ask the same and be very clear on the purpose if you decide you need a new “look”.
I am not saying businesses should not use the above marketing strategies. What I’m more hoping for is a marketplace willing to question the words businesses use in their marketing for context. It is easy to say things and sound impressive, but does the business actually deliver on it? Asking questions takes more time but it’s definitely worth your investment and may save you from spending money on a life coach who hasn’t lived, a business coach with little business experience, or a marketer who doesn’t have a marketing background. Maybe I’m too honest and looking for a utopian business and marketing world. But I’ll keep challenging those who use marketing hype without context and hope you’ll join me to expose the ones shining bright lights in our eyes to reflect from facts.