Truth in Marketing
by Marcia Yudkin
A woman who showed me a press
release she wrote said in it that she'd gone
from cleaning toilets to owning the largest
janitorial service in Delaware. Casually in
conversation with me, she mentioned that her company wasn't
actually anywhere close
to the largest. I suggested that she change her
materials accordingly. She didn't.
An aspiring author showed me a
tearsheet from an adult education catalog that
claimed he'd published "numerous"
books. The catalog cited him as author of a book
title that had never been published. I said he
was jeopardizing his reputation to make up
credentials. I don't think my advice sank in.
Last summer I presented these
(true, though disguised) scenarios to the
subscribers of my free weekly email newsletter,
The Marketing Minute,
and asked whether these examples counted as
acceptable exaggeration or stank of lying. In a
year when dishonesty in politics and journalism
had created turmoil, I was startled at the
unanimous response I received. Of more than 100
replies, every one condemned these two marketing
miscreants as beneath contempt.
Here are a few of the comments
I received. If you're ever tempted to fabricate
credentials, reread this column!
If building a business (as
I've learned) is about building relationships, a
cornerstone of good business relationships is
trust. Lies destroy trust. - Mary Pat Messina
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Fame and money are fleeting.
Integrity is forever. White lies are for saving
someone's feelings - a peaceful endeavor. Filthy
lies are for cheats - a destructive endeavor. -
Personally, I don't want to
have to remember who I've told what, or worry
about who might find out what. You never know
whose conversations you might be brought up in!
- Melissa Vickers
I would not hire these people.
If they lied to me once, then they will most
definitely lie to me twice. - Chris S. Merriam-Leith
Besides showing poor self
esteem and strong personal insecurity, the
inflated claims you describe are unethical and
will do more damage than good in the long run.
Most customers aren't stupid. - Don Weidner
Integrity is important and
shouldn't ever be muddied. Surprising how many
times lies are exposed, and the word always
travels. - Sal Towse
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If they NEED to lie about
their achievements, it becomes obvious that they
HAVE no achievements, so it is better to find
someone who represents what they have become
through their hard work, rather than what they
wish they were through their fantasies. - Davis
This is not 'positioning',
'putting in a positive light', or 'tuning,'
these are lies. Integrity is where I place my
bets every time. - D A Raynor
A half-truth is a whole lie.
Lying is never good for business. - Alan Sharpe
Copyright 2000 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
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