If you are going to do well in the small business marketing business, you’ve got to get over whatever queasiness you may have about deception. I started in the “regular” advertising business but quickly gave it up because I realized most of the clients’ money was wasted; most advertising could not work because the public does its damndest to avoid advertising altogether.
Here’s a small business marketing tip for ya…“If you aren’t willing to sneak up on ’em, you’re in big trouble.”
Of course, you can rise to the level of illegal deceptive advertising or mail, a line They keep moving, and that’s ill-adviseable for very practical reasons.
But short of that line, virtually ALL effective marketing is, to one degree or another, deceptive. All car commercials show “beautiful people”, all beer commercials occur in taverns populated by ordinary guys and gorgeous super-models. That’s deceptive. Our deception is no more or less “evil” than theirs.
So, get over it. And get in the game. Or get out altogether, put on a backwards collar, open a soup kitchen or leper colony, and take a vow of poverty. Don’t be a Halfway Harry.
‘Deception’ or ‘marketing sleight of hand’ is neither good or evil, ethical or unethical in and of itself; it is simply reality, and to deny it is as idiotic as denying the reality of gravity. If you are in business, you are in the business of getting people to pay attention to things they are not pre-disposed to pay attention to, to develop interest in things they were not previously interested in, to choose your offerings instead of someone else’s, often to purchase things they could do without or choose less expensive alternatives for, and to otherwise control their thoughts, emotions and behavior.
Once you decide to do this (by owning a business), then the only real question is whether you’re going to do it like a consummate master or a pitifully inept amateur.