unboxed marketing

group therapy for marketers and business owners

marketing’s culture of deceit

Posted by Steve Buchholz on February 14, 2009

Why do business lie to customers?

Companies that lie to customers destroy the already fragile trust consumers have for corporations.

Companies that lie to customers destroy the already fragile trust consumers have for corporations.

Customers already don’t trust corporations and companies and the marketing messages they try to force you to hear. When businesses layer lies on top of the distrust that already exists, the lack of consumer trust sinks to new lows.

I saw this in action today when the family attended a community yardsale sponsored by the Rapid City Journal, our local daily newspaper. In past years, the sale was huge, with every corner of available space at the civic center filled with someone selling something. In the days leading up to this year’s sale, the Journal ran ads that read, “SOLD OUT,” as the paper has in past years. Unfortunately, the ads weren’t honest.

The sale used considerably less civic center space than past years, and the rooms that were used were not filled. The result? The expectations of consumers were not met. The SOLD OUT ads would have made sale veterans expect a sale of past years’ proportions, but they received something very different.

Consumers aren’t stupid. They noticed the sale was smaller, and they know they were promised something else. That’s one more ding in the newspaper’s reputation. Take enough dings and eventually you’ll have an dent that can’t be prepared.

Be honest. It’s easier. And since most businesses won’t do it, you’ll win the long run.

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