"Naiveté is rare today. Your customer is equipped with a bullshit detector that is highly sensitive and amazingly accurate. And the younger the customer, the more accurate their bullshit detector.
When selling, remember: If you don’t admit the downside, they won’t believe the upside." - Roy H. Willaims.
Can I emphasise this fact enough to my clients? NO.
I advise you to read it again, because it's very, very true...and if you don't believe it, or think you can smooze your way around it with fancy PR or advertising, you're taking a very dangerous Jérôme Kerviel-like gamble with your company's future.
There's a reason why the blog belonging to the man who spoke these simple but very true words is read by many, many people across the world, and the reason is this: without any marketing blah-blah or trendy industry slang, he gets it so very right...it's worth giving up 15 minutes to read his The Monday Morning Memo.
In his post '2008 - The Year of Transition' he highlights what he thinks will be the big consumer trends for the coming years. It's an interesting post, which I think anyone interested in consumer behaviour or marketing...hell, anyone in the business of selling something to someone (that makes all of us) should read it!
Below is an excerpt of the main points. The full post you can find here
Here’s what to remember when selling in 2008:
1. Efficiency is the new Service.
Your customer is saying, “Quality and price and quick, please. I’ve got things to do. Thanks.” Service and selection still matter, but not nearly so much as they once did. Inefficient organizations built on high-touch “relationship” selling will decline. Today’s customer is magnetically drawn to efficiency. This attraction will increase over the next few years.
2. Authenticity is essential.
Listen to the street. “Being cool” has become “Keepin’ it real.”
Naiveté is rare today. Your customer is equipped with a bullshit detector that is highly sensitive and amazingly accurate. And the younger the customer, the more accurate their bullshit detector.
When selling, remember: If you don’t admit the downside, they won’t believe the upside.
3. A Horizontal Connectedness is replacing yesterday’s vertical, social hierarchy. Labels like “white collar” and “blue collar” sound almost racist today. The new American dream isn’t about pulling ahead and leaving the others behind. It’s about becoming a productive member of the team.
“Winning” has become less important than “belonging.”
Listen to the streets. “I’m number one,” gets the response, “You ain’t all that, dog. You ain’t all that.”
4. Word-of-Mouth is the new Mass Media. Video games and cable TV stripped our kids of their innocence at an early age, but the Technology that robbed them of idyllic childhood also empowered them with cell phones, blogs and blackberries.
Viral marketing wasn’t created by the advertising community. It’s simply the result of a horizontally-connected generation (1.) sharing their happy discoveries with each other and (2.) trying to protect one another from mistakes.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS: It’s no longer enough just to have great advertising. When your customers carry cell phones and can email all their friends with a single click, you need to be exceptionally good at what you do.
5. Boasting is a waste of time.
Your customer is saying, “Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.
Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me.”
IN YOUR ADS, do you include “proofs of claim” your reader, listener or viewer can experience for themselves?
6. Everyone is broken a little.
And the most broken are those who pretend they are not.
It’s time to take the advice of Bill Bernbach, “I’ve got a great gimmick. Let’s tell the truth.”
7. Keep in mind that during the next 12 months, as we complete the transition from the Idealist outlook to the Civic perspective, these trends will be accelerated by the facts that:
(1.) Access to information is going up and
(2.) Access to money is going down.