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Honestly Deceiving: Being Real with the Consumer


From the moment we are born we are marketers.

It starts with ourselves and manifests into some other form down the line. No mater what business direction we end up taking, let’s face it, we are marketing.

Before we have learned to walk and talk, we are trying to get through to those higher beings in our lives. The ones who have all the answers and can give us what we want. We learn to market our needs by distorting our faces or challenging our voices to reach decibels of inhumane proportions. And in the end, we’ve gotten the attention we think we deserve. This disseminating carries on well into the moment we have our first lemonade stand, sending our pal Stinky Wizzleteeth to run through the neighborhood and alert all the other kids, to selling ourselves on college interviews convincing admissions we are worthy of their university.

It’s about selling anything and making sure the people out there know they “have” to have it whether or not they really “need” it. The greatest marketing I think I have ever seen is with the rock band KISS. We all know them and we have thrashed our heads about at the bar or a Holiday party to “ROCK & ROLL ALL NIGHT"                                                   

KISS, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanly, are greater marketing directors than they are lyricists. They took a mediocre band and turned them into “the hottest band in the land” (their slogan) with pyrotechnics, Kabuki make-up and loud (and fun) music anthems. They are no different than the old time snake oil salesmen of the 1800’s to the “Mad Men” of Madison Avenue in the glory days of advertising. But they are geniuses because they “get it”. They know how to tap into people and make no claims other than to be what you see.

I'm in restaurant marketing and we, like KISS, typically need to make our food look sexier than what it actually looks like on the plate or in the display case. McDonalds is the perfect example. Have you EVER had a Big Mac that looks ANYTHING like the commercials or POP for that product? If you have, lunch is on me! Take me to that Big Mac!

But where does the line, or in this case the picture, blur between truthful marketing and creating false illusions to sell our food? Granted, we do need to add some jazz to it for the pictures. But sadly in some cases I have seen, it’s down right deceiving and actually makes the establishment look bad when the customer stares at the ordered product and says, “Ok, what’s this?”

I once went to a festival in my neighborhood where two different boys were selling “Fresh Homemade Lemonade”. I saw that one boy was mixing it up from a powder base while the other squeezed lemons in his juicer and added water and sugar. Both cost the same. Both tasted fine. But it was the boy who squeezed them himself that I ordered a second cup from. For a few years after, the same boy was there. The other was not. Why? Because his marketing was true to its word.

I want to leave you with this. Always remember that you too are a consumer. You know what you look for in marketing and advertising and you know you don’t like to be sold snake oil by a slick cat with a quick tongue. Be as honest and forthwith with your customer base as you would want someone to be with you, and then you have maintained customer loyalty.


                      

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