"Secrecy is the mark of false doctrine" - The Buddha
Continuing my rabbit trail from our Animated Kids Show series I want to get real with you guys.
Today I'd like to talk about exposing three nasty nasty lies in marketing: that unfortunately trick people all the time. These lies keep us from being truthful, sincere and downright good people. I know this sounds preachy but please understand this is coming from someone that has seen how the sausage is made: this could save yourself a lot of pain and suffering and avoid being fooled. I call these lies the three F words of marketing (though they're not limited to just marketing by any means): Fear, False, and Formulas
Firstly, and I deeply resent this one: the "fastest way to sell an idea is through fear". This was the first tenant I learned in a marketing course in college and it totally popped my naive bubble and deeply sours my stomach.
Fear is a tactic people use to make others respond in the most impulsive and scary ways. From triggering speech, to religion to politics and beyond it really draws out the worst in people. I can't stand fear based idea sales, no matter what the subject!
An obvious example is FOMO (fear of missing out). Every year here in America we celebrate a tradition that I personally find shameful. The night of Thanksgiving is the bargain savers hay day - Black Friday sales begin! The Simpson's recently did a hilarious bit comparing Black Friday to the Purge films.
You might be wondering but Jesse you work in marketing how can this bother you? Well as a person that has had earlier career points in retail I know first hand how ravenous those discounted items can turn sweet old grannies into bloodthirsty gladiators! This fear of missing out on a fantastic sale morphs people into animals. Side note if you're working in retail I consider you a saint of the highest order. If you can work in retail and have not become jaded you're a wonderful human that can endure anything! Fear based decision making transforms you into the anxious decision maker - frankly it makes you a nervous idiot. You'll never make quality decisions being pressured by fear and anxiety.
The second lie in marketing I can't stand to the core is when people use "false hope" to sell an idea! Claiming they have a cure all for your problems but they never have to stand up to the legitimate pressure to deliver. Promising a nirvana like results that breeds strange lotto-minded behavior. There is no such thing as luck even though we say it constantly. Luck is just an archaic word for wishful random acts. Wishing won't solve your problems! Yes there is always room for hope, hope is a beautiful thing. Yet when you deliberately use false hope you're actively injuring people in some way.
Let's examine this further, I'm not a fan of lotteries or gambling. I know I must sound like I'm a lot of fun at parties haha. The house always, ALWAYS wins! There's no system to beat the odds. If you enjoy gambling for the fun of it, hey that's totally cool but it's still logically speaking money you're handing over. I understand there are always risk vs reward decisions you must take in life - however that isn't the same as the predatory behavior of using false hope to prey on desperate and weak willed indiviuals. This one heavily ties into the first lie where someone uses fear to catch your attention then selling you false hope as the solution. From selling salvation, or cure all oils, to a silver bullet product your company needs "or your leaving money on the table". Garage! We shouldn't be motivated by unproven products or services.
Lastly the cruelest lie in marketing is the lie of "secret recipes" or secret formulas. These are always lies. First and foremost if something is always a secret formula that mean you must not bring anything to the table! It's all in the sauce so to speak! Wrong! If there was a real formula to success it would be public knowledge. There's just strategies or ideas or an ever growing silly lists of books pretending to offer it at a price.
Dont get me wrong a recipe for success sounds great! It's not using fear like the first lie or immediate false hope like the second it's say "you need to follow these instructions" that's really seductive. And granted don't we all enjoy being seduced by advertising? How many times have we seen a commercial for a product or service and you've thought that's exactly what I need! Or a commercial for a cheese burger and said "that looks delicious!" That's the nature of marketing - they're constantly trying to seduce you into purchasing something! Heck I'm doing it right now! I'm trying to persuade you to see my point of view which will hopefully challenge your decision making. And you don't need to travel far on my website to see that I'm trying to sell people on the talents and services that I offer. But there's a bigger reason I have than exposing these lies - that's sharing a greater truth! These lies disconnect us from people. There's a quote by Bridgette Devouse I absolutely love - "I'm starved for connection not attention".
Creating relationships and connections with people isn't about controlling others out of fear, false hope or perceived "secret formulas". it is about you being so uniquely you that nothing could be anything other than you! The greatest reason an artist tells a story is to attempt to connect with you. It means taking the time to get to know your clients or audience as a real people. To empathize with them. Really listen to them. It means telling the truth - the radical truth and how you can honestly add value or enjoyment to them, not trickery or gimmicks. I’m sure theres people out there that’ll bawk at this idea but that’s honestly an indicator that they’re so used to lying to themselves or so greedy they’ve lost sight of what really matters. People! People will always be what matters most!
Well how do we detox from all these marketing lies that are making it more difficult to just be you?! This is a difficult process. Why? Because we're so busy that unfortunately we take a lot of decision short cuts. Statistically speaking we are more likely to tell the truth earlier in the day because as decision fatigue takes a hold lying isn't always about being deceptive it's about not having to work at a decision. So I've put together three tips in how I've helped myself detox from these lies (if they're helpful to you that's wonderful but they're by no means a cure all or a recipe to fix all your problems): Recognize, Remove, and Restore!
Recognize: attempt to recognize the lies! Is a product or idea or speaker or organization offering something that seems untruthful?
Remove: remove yourself from this equation. Stop using these ridiculous marketing F words yourself! Sometimes the best way to change things for the good is to not allow yourself be apart of the problem.
Restore: restore your self worth! Your job is to help serve others. Not move the imaginary needle by looking busy, saying silly jargon and pretending you have it all together. You're a person with wants and needs and it's ok to distinguish the two! You're always going to bring an experience that is uniquely you. Don't try to change yourself into an idol of success. Allow yourself and your personal passion and story to connect with people on a real level. Honestly and integrity are things that should always be priceless and never be for sale.
Thanks for listening,