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Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Too good to be true"

Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Too good to be true"

January 17, 2009

Last month's dilemma '

'I got a notice from the city. We have to do this.' Really?

This government-looking notice we received says new curb addresses would be painted on our street the next day. If we want to be included we were instructed to sign it and leave it on our door authorizing the work to be done. A $20 payment is required upon completion. But take a closer look. There's no indication of who will do the work. There's no one to contact. You don't even know who wrote the letter. Immediately I thought it was a scam.

My response: Deceptive. This ad was clearly designed to look like a government project was being performed on our street and that a fee of $20 was being accessed. The fact that there was no contact information or company name made it even more suspicious. What I don't understand is that if it is a legitimate business ad, why not include the company name? Why not sell prospects on the value of the work -- not how well they can deceive prospects?

Creative or Deceptive? You decide ...

The desire to increase sales often leads us into some very gray areas where there doesn't always seem to be a clear right or wrong answer. I tackle a dilemma each month and then I want to hear what you would do. Send your comments to me at JonGoldman@YourBusinessGPS.com. Then, next month I will give you my take on whether it was creative or deceptive.

This month's dilemma ... Too good to be true?

You probably already know I'm a big fan of giving prospects as much proof as possible in your marketing. If you're telling prospects they can make more money using your product or service, you have to show them how others have done exactly that.

Sometimes the claims sound too good to be true. I often see claims like these among real estate gurus who say you can make $56,000 or $85,000 on a single deal by using their investment system. For example, in this one, the investor claims he made $68,386.27 using his own system and shows the check to prove it.


I don't doubt that the check is real. But is it realistic to expect that everyone who uses the same system will get a check like that? A few 'super-achievers' may receive checks for that much money or even more. But most people who buy the system will never see checks that size. Should that matter? What do you think? Is it savvy marketing or is it deceptive? Send me an email. Let me know what you think.