410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Is it a Blog or a Flog?"

Manipulative Marketing Corner: "Is it a Blog or a Flog?"

June 25, 2008

Creative or Deceptive? You decide.

The desire to increase sales often leads us into some very gray areas where there doesn't always seem to be a clear right or wrong answer. I tackle a dilemma each month and then I want to hear what you would do. Send your comments to me at JonGoldman@BrandLauncher.com. Then, next month I will give you my take on whether it was creative or deceptive.

This month's dilemma ... Is it a blog or a flog?

Search on Google or any of the other search engines and you're more likely to get recommendations for content-rich blogs than traditional websites.

In response, savvy marketers and PR firms are creating their own blogs to create more traffic about their product or service. They look and feel like someone writing for their own enjoyment, but the flog (fake blog) is really a cleverly designed marketing tactic created by ad agencies. Wal-Mart, Sony and McDonald's have all created flogs. Some even pay writers to post entries on their blogs to create more traffic about their product or service. What do you think? Creative or deceptive?

Let me know what you think. Send an email at JonGoldman@BrandLauncher.com.

Last month's dilemma

Hurry, hurry! Only 5 left!

One of the best ways to increase sales is to hold a 'scratch and dent' sale. You often see this type of sale on appliances in which products are discounted 40% - 50%, but it can be used for books or any other product that's not in perfect condition. One client of mine recently did this and got the biggest and fastest response ever when he said he only had five left, which he offered at 40% off the regular price.

But he actually had more than five available. He ended up getting more than five orders so should he fulfill them?

My response

This is deceptive. The promotion said he had a limited quantity of five when in fact he had more than that. He just wanted to create scarcity and urgency. Also, it turns out that the items weren't defective at all. They were all perfectly fine.

These are all lies. Never lie about the quantities you say you have available and if you say you have damaged items for sale, make sure they are indeed damaged.

So what do you do in this case? Fulfill the orders, but let customers know you're in the business of 'Wow!' Tell them: 'Although we don't have anymore damaged items, we'll give you the same item in perfect condition at the discounted sale price. You'll impress your customers and you'll keep your integrity.