Every product tells a story.
And as a business, you play a large part in what that story is. It’s called marketing.
The best products represent an idea in the customer’s mind. It’s your job to figure out how to tell the story in a way that resonates with your customer and sticks.
The problems happen when there’s a mismatch between the story the customer believes and the real experience of your product.
Being an Ethical Marketer
If you’re a proficient marketer and really understand the way that people’s decision-making process works, it’s tempting to try to coerce or trick people into buying your product.
Powerful tools a marketer can use: the fear of missing out. The promise of a silver bullet. The embarrassment of not being trendy. The desire for the extravagant car.
But just because you can use these tools doesn’t mean you should. If your product’s causing damage (to you, the customer or the environment), having the ability to convince someone they need your product doesn’t mean you should.
Would You Sell it to Your Grandma?
One of the best ways to make sure you’re being an ethical marketer: ask yourself questions that give you new perspective.
If your grandmother believed in your product’s story and decided to buy it, would you want her to? If the answer is no (because she doesn’t really need this particular thing to solve her problem, or because you’ve created a false problem), you need to reconsider your message.
Another good question: “If the customer I’m trying to target knew all the facts about this product, understood all the alternatives and perfectly grasped his situation, would he still want to buy this?”
If the answer is no, you have two options. 1. Make a better product. 2. Use your marketing prowess to target a customer who does allows you to answer “yes” to these questions.
If you ever find yourself asking: “Is this spam? Is this scammy? Are we being honest?” then the fact you have to ask indicates it’s a good time to reevaluate your message.
Consider the Customer
Ultimately, when it comes to marketing your product, service or even idea, it’s always a good idea to ask:
“Will this message benefit my audience? Does it have their best interests at heart?”
If you can honestly say “yes,” then full steam ahead. It’s time to tell your story.