Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lies and Marketing

lies to influence purchasing behavior?

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A Sad Development in the Blogosphere

There's a debate raging in the business sector of the blogosphere.

A marketing writer, Seth Godin, has just published a book called "All Marketers Are Liars."

I like Seth. I love his book "Free Prize Inside". I read his Seth's Blog almost daily. He has always responded promptly to every email I sent him.

So this is deeply depressing.

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According to Seth, and those who have read his new book, one major premise is:

1. Consumers love stories, even untrue stories.

2. Consumers crave stories, even untrue stories.

3. Consumers are not persuaded by truth, facts, or good information, but by stories they "need" to hear and "want" to believe.

4. Thus, marketers are free to tell LIES, if that's what customers "want".

5. Then the LIE that invades the customer's mind "becomes" a kind of "true lie" or a personally "valid" perception for that customer.

6. Since perception "is" reality, at least "internal reality" for that customer, no harm is done and the marketer's conscience is clear.

Friends, if I have to explain point by point why this attitude is the very definition of "deceptive practices", then you've got more problems than I can solve for you.

I trust you're not that "dumbed down" and desperately "craving" "beautiful lies you can live in" as the brilliant songwriter Leonard Cohen once said.

I have more confidence in you than that.

Socrates, in the writings of his student Plato, demolished such false "reasoning". Back in his day, this clever rhetoric and word gaming was called SOPHISTRY.

SOPHISTRY: "unsound or misleading, but clever and (seemingly) plausible argument or reasoning." Purpose = take advantage of naive people, the "unsophisticated".

I suspect a sexist bias to this.

Jerk males will often tell a woman anything they think women "want to hear", just to add another sexual conquest to their lists.

"What do you WANT me to say?" the sexist male drones distractedly, anxious to appease the woman and get back to the football game, pretzels, and beer.

"I want to hear you say you love me, and you care about my feelings," she might sob.

"Okay. I love you and I care about your feelings. Now shut the hell up and get off my back. I got a game I'm trying to watch here." the pig male replies.

This is the "true lie" that consumers supposedly want to "hear"?

I doubt it.

The whole point of online communities, blog comment interactions, web rings, web of trust, user evaluations of products, and the empowerment of individual citizen jouranlists is TRUTH.

Consumers are sick and fed up with passively soaking up unilateral, mass message, broadcast propaganda from politicians and marketers.

Consumers are telling each other the facts concerning products, rather than going to corporate and ecommerce web sites to learn about how the products actually perform in real world usage.

Here's the reasoning: if you tell a "lie", tell a customer that a wine glass has special properties that make any wine taste better than it really is, and, due to the lie, the consumer actually enjoys the wine more, what harm is done?

The consumer is happy. The wine does taste better to him or her. It's a lie that the wine glass has special properties, but who cares? The end result is the customer thinks all wine tastes better in these glasses, and is happy.

Con artists, cult leaders, and false advertisers are eating this up. "Right On!" they exclaim, as they greedily scan the area for chumps and marks.

False Advertising. Consumer Fraud. Deceptive Business Practices.

Don't these mean anything anymore?

Why glorify human stupidity and lies that take advantage of poorly informed consumers?

We want "stories" to believe in, even if false?

I don't think so.

What a negative, cynical, misanthropic viewpoint.

"Your father is a liar and the father of lies. He cannot tell the truth because there is no truth in him. He was a liar from the beginning."

Sound familiar?

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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