Honesty and social media marketing.With social media and the web today, it is more important than ever to be honest in how you market yourself and your company. Actually, I believe that youshould always be honest, but now it is tougher for some “less than honest” marketers to get away with their BS.

Let’s start with a quick refresher on the 4Ps because they are still relevant today – Product, Price, Place, Promotion.

  • Product (or service) is what you offer to your customers to purchase.  It is the actual utility of what you have to offer and the perceived benefits of that utility.
  • Price is somewhat self-explanatory.  It is what someone is willing to pay for the perceived benefits and utility of your product (or service).  The ultimate win-win in marketing is when you offer something that people believe is worth at least as much as it will cost them to purchase it.
  • Place is where people buy your product or service.  Historically this has been in traditional places like a retail store, where location, location, location have been the most important criteria in defining place.  Place may also be in the form of a telephone, catalog, personal salesperson, etc.  Obviously the Web has really changed the entire place component AND dramatically influenced the other Ps.
  • Promotion is how you tell your customers (and prospective customers) about your product, why they should purchase it, etc.  It is the communication part of the 4P equation where a lot of the BS used to be…..and still is. However, Social Media has changed the playing field.

So, why is it more important now to be honest in your marketing? Plain and simple – with Social Media, customers are more in control of the Promotion of products and services and that trend is just going to get stronger, not weaker.  Plus, customers today have a very cynical BS meter ingrained in them.  They filter out corporate marketing speak and try to validate the truth with actual experiences…either their own experiences or those of people they trust.

What is the take away here? If you have a product or service that isn’t as good as the competition’s, fix it, make it better or focus on a true benefit that you can back up.  You better have a reason for it and be honest about it….maybe it is “almost as good” as theirs, but at a better price or in a more convenient place.  The bottom line is be clear, be honest and be focused on building good old-fashioned trust with your customers….even if your product is less than perfect.

People would rather do business with honest, less than perfect companies than those who claim something that is “too good to be true”.