Today’s Marketing Cookie – Half Truths

EZsocialmedia resource picks:

Today's Marketing Cookie - Never forget that a half truth is a whole lie.

"Never forget that a half truth is a whole lie."

Today’s fortune came from Bill Bowles. I first met Bill when we were fifteen years old. I was the “new kid” who showed up at a tiny little private high school and we became good friends. (yes the school was both tiny and little.) The school was so tiny and little in fact, that Bill and I were in a graduating class of just three. Although our families had never met before, it was amazing to discover that his grandfather Rocky and my uncle Guy were partners in a boiler repair business many moons ago. Bill has worked with me in nearly every business I’ve had and is currently our Sr. Web Developer at CommCreative. What are the the odds of that!? Bill is “good people” and I encourage you to follow him on Twitter: @billbowles

Today’s Marketing Cookie is about telling the truth.

It shouldn’t surprise you that there are currently twenty-seven companies in Boston claiming that they are the “#1 plumbing company” in the city. I know because I did the research. In case you were curious, San Francisco has twenty-three “#1 plumbers” and Chicago has forty-two plumbing companies who are also making such claims. How can this be?  How can there possibly be more than one, number one? I’m not great at math, but I know that there can’t really be twenty-seven number ones. Right?

Did they all get together one night and come up with twenty-seven categories for plumbers, so they can each claim something of their own and still be number one?
“#1 plumber with an Irish accent”
“#1 plumber with two vans”
“#1 plumber… and son”
“#1 plumber with pants pulled up”
“#1 plumber who shows up with the parts they need”
“#1 plumber who answers his phone”

One of these companies is actually the number one plumbing company in the city, and the rest of them are simply just making it up. Dare I say, twenty-six of these plumbers are telling a lie, or at least not telling the truth. If all but one of these companies are lying, which of these plumbers can be trusted? When you hire a plumber, will you ask him or her to provide evidence for the claims they’ve printed on the side of their van, or what they say on their website? No. Most people will take such claims at face value and assume it to be true.  Or worse.  I fear it could be that consumers have been lied to so many times, in so many advertisements, by so many companies, that nothing is believed anymore.

I chose to research plumbers in Boston today quite randomly, and I did so in order to make a point. I’m sure I would find similar conflicting, unsupported claims being made by construction companies, electricians, software companies, airlines, restaurants, pharmaceuticals, department stores, hospitals, banks, or companies in almost any other industry. As marketers we are often under crushing pressure to generate sales and revenue. That pressure may also prompt the temptation to tell “white lies” or “stretched truths”.  We must however remember what today’s fortune says: “Never forget that a half truth is a whole lie.” Court is in session. As marketers, I’m asking that we all raise our hand and take an oath. We have a responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  So help us God!


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