At a recent networking meeting, when a fellow entrepreneur was asked why he did not use print or online advertising for his business, his response was “Advertising is Lies.” My first reaction was that it could only be “Lies” if the content of the advertisement stated or implied untrue benefits or attributes of the product or service. The Federal Trade Commission’s Truth in Advertising Act requires that: 1) Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive 2) Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims, and 3) Advertisements cannot be unfair.
Years ago, physicians endorsed the health benefits of cigarettes, and we were all taught that a certain brand of white bread built strong bodies twelve ways.
Since we all have the capability of creating our own content, the credibility of our claims is our responsibility.
However, it wasn’t the content of the advertisement that was in question of being true, it was the purpose of the advertisement or the “why.” We are bombarded by advertisements every day, through every media possible. Their influence on our buying decisions is much greater than we realize.
The following questions come to mind when I see heavily advertised products or services:
“Why is an advertiser spending so much money to convince me to purchase their product or service?”
“How much of what I am spending on this product or service is going into this promotion?”
“What is it about this product or service that requires it to be marketed in this manner?”
“Do I really need and/or want this product or service now that I have seen the advertising?”
A few years ago, there was a huge marketing campaign for laser eye surgery. There were television ads, newspaper ads, and billboards promoting the new laser eye surgery clinics that were popping up in every strip mall. I understood the benefits of not having to wear glasses, but with the cost of the process, and the risks involved, I didn’t want to trust my eyes to anybody but my optometrist or someone that he would refer to me. I wasn’t convinced that those laser eye surgery clinics would be around if and when I needed them in the future.
It would be nice if word of mouth referrals could replace standard advertising. In some ways, through internet review sites, it already is. Maybe if we invest in our product and service, we would not need to spend as much for advertising. Our best advertisement is a happy customer.
At Lyon Strategic Consulting, LLC, we partner with businesses to develop the discipline to improve the communication, leadership, and goal achieving necessary to succeed. Contact us for more information.