Truth In Advertising

When we hear the phrase truth in advertising, we usually think about false claims, asterisks, and fine print. While there are still plenty of advertising messages that are misleading at best, in this day and age, it’s also about the authenticity of your message.

Message Authenticity Matters

Here’s a real-life example of a disconnect between the marketing message and reality. I recently stopped by my local shipping store to print a mailing label and ship a package. While I waited I noticed the walls were littered with signs claiming they were a “small business partner.” Unable to get cell service to download the document I needed them to print, I asked the attendant (also the manager), “Do you have WiFi?”

“No,” she replied “but you can try going outside.”

In disbelief, I went outside and wondered how a self-proclaimed small business partner didn’t even offer WiFi when every fast food restaurant, convenience store, coffee shop, and pet store does?

Still unable to get signal, and now a little annoyed, I came back in and used their computer to get the file. Then they charged me 10x what you can get copies for anywhere to print the single, black and white page. Now I was really annoyed and vowed not to go back.

The thing is, if I hadn’t been reading all those signs while waiting my turn, I’d have thought nothing of the cost and while I’d have still have been surprised they didn’t offer WiFi, I wouldn’t have been irritated by it. That’s because I didn’t have specific expectations when I walked in. Their messaging set the bar higher, so it was more of a letdown when they didn’t deliver and it left me feeling, well, deceived.

How can you avoid the same mistake?

Often times, business owners and even marketers make the mistake of trying to oversell what they offer or market today what they hope to create in the future. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Saying something doesn’t make it true, and customers today are savvier than ever before. They want to build relationships with companies they trust. If you tell them what to expect and then don’t deliver, you’ve undermined that trust and they’ll likely head right to social media or online reviews to tell everyone about it. So before you say it in advertising, ask yourself if it’s really true–not from your perspective (you’re skewed by your intentions), but from the customer’s perspective. If it’s not absolutely true, find something else to say that is.

If you need help crafting the perfect marketing messaging, contact us today.

Stephanie Petta

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