Customers See Through Marketing “Tactics”

Some marketing professionals seem to think marketing is all about “pulling one over” on customers with their clever tactics. The trouble with this philosophy (besides being ethically problematic, of course) is that it just doesn’t work. Marketers aren’t smarter than customers, and they can’t trick customers. And sometimes customers are actually smarter than the marketing experts.

My good friend Laura Poland (who is a photographer, not a marketer) recently showed some serious marketing smarts. She told me how she caught on to Covergirl’s marketing tactics. A TV commercial claimed their Outlast Lipstain is the #1 selling lipstain. She speculates, “What is a lipstain? They’ve created a new category! My thinking is they’re the only ‘lipstain.'” She’s not very far off with her analysis. They are number one because they are almost the only one, with few competitors. A quick check of the Covergirl website shows the product isn’t very well-received, either– it only receives 3 of 5 stars from reviewers.

This example of a photographer picking apart a marketing campaign isn’t isolated. Everyday, customers evaluate your marketing messages for trustworthiness and believability. If they catch a whiff of “tactics,” their skepticism will keep them from buying from you. The best approach is to be honest with your marketing and sell a product you are proud to promote.