Seth Godin makes a relevant point in his Gotcha! blog post today.
As consumers we hate to be lied to, yet as marketers we are trained to hide the truth behind marketing spiel in order to gain a clickthrough, a conversion or a sale.
When marketing your products and services in this day and age, honesty helps. In fact, it is essential.
If you fail to mention a particular aspect of your product eg it won’t work in certain situations, or its size is cleverly concealed by “trick photography”, or any other issue that might affect the consumer’s purchase decision or use of your product, then you can guarantee that some dissatisfied customer somewhere will mention it.
Review sites, Twitter and forums are full of negative comments about products, companies, brands and so on. When trying to find the right product, consumers are becoming prosumers and increasingly looking to such sites to find reviews, customer comments, and complaints before making a decision on which product they will buy.
Many of these type of complaints can be handled by:
a) telling the truth about the product in the first place
b) dealing with the complaints as and when they occur and
c) rectifying the misapprehension of future customers by changing the description or photo of said product to be honest and accurate
A sale is not a good sale when that consumer ends up feeling misled. It is more likely to be the cause of many non-sales in the future if the customer then complains, whether online or offline, through word of mouse or word of mouth.
In a world full of lies, from politics to the corporate world, the media through to marketing, your every day punter needs to be told the truth. And you will win, long term, by telling it how it is.
Let your consumers be content with your content, and then they will be loyal, evangelical and return customers.