I had an interesting experience this morning. I blogged yesterday about Google and the spreading of its apps offerings worldwide and someone who read the post was offended by my take. Since it was a blog post from Google I was covering I thought it would be pretty upright of them to discuss that they are working to iron out issues they recently had (read: outages) so as to even out the picture of all is good with the Google world.
The ‘exchange’, as it were, made me think about marketing in general and social media specifically. I realized that the sheer ‘one-sidedness’ is kind of funny in light of how much more well informed the general buying public today. I realized that marketing is so ridiculously one sided in most cases that it is more about product utopia than it is about product reality.
Honestly, it would be refreshing to see a company actually talk about its strengths (be they real, perceived or contrived) along side of its shortcomings. Maybe the masses would find that weird or something they would rather not see but I personally would have great respect for a company that cuts its critics off at the knees and simply tells the whole truth.
Will this ever happen? I doubt it because it is a risky notion. If a company, however, is well known, or even infamous, for a certain behavior wouldn’t it be cool for them to show some humility by admitting the screw-up and addressing it head on. I believe there have been some examples of this in the past but they are so few and far between that I can’t remember clearly enough to state them.
So as a marketer are you a storyteller / fairy tale spinner? Do you really feel good about what you hold back? If you can’t actually say something in your marketing to put the customer or prospective customer at ease about your shortcomings are you working on your product internally to make changes that are obvious to the rest of the world? Does this sound silly to you?
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter how we as marketers feel about it anymore because there are fewer places to hide. Social media has made it harder to tell tall tales about perfect products and flawless delivery. In fact, if you are producing marketing materials that are even suggesting perfection then you are already ID’d as a BS artist.
I’m not saying that you run around telling everyone about your flaws but don’t be silly enough to think that people of any discernment are going to buy your polly-annish product pitch either. The world has changed and marketers need to as well.
So tell your story, tell it succinctly, tell it with humility and tell it like it really is and you will get more attention, which might actually result in more sales. How about that?!