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Try This Next Time You Meet Someone for the First Time

Try This Next Time You Meet Someone for the First Time

October 08, 2009

Want to have fun at your next cocktail reception or back-to-school night where you're meeting other people for the first time?

They'll either get very angry or just walk away. There's no in between.

So what would you say that would get people so emotional?

Tell them you're in advertising!

See what I mean? As soon as I used that word my guess is that immediately thoughts came to mind of deception, hidden disclosures, half-truths and lies. Mention you're even remotely involved in advertising as the leader of your business and you'll either get an earful or you'll get the silent treatment. Either way, you WILL get a reaction.

Which brings up a question I've been wrestling with lately. Can we be honest and still effectively market and advertise our products or services?

I really believe we can.

Ads like these that hide behind disclosures such as "individual results may vary" will soon be a thing of the past, thankfully!

Monday, the FTC came out with new rules that says advertisers can no longer use testimonials and endorsements of amazing success stories and in fine print say, 'results not typical.'

You see these types of testimonial ads all the time with diet ads, health ads and financial ads. They talk about how someone lost 50 pounds in 29 days or made $100,000 in one weekend investing in the stock market, but then add in very fine print, 'individual results may vary.' No kidding!

Beginning Dec. 1, testimonials and success stories must be typical of the types of results others have experienced using your product or service.

That doesn't mean you testimonials should be any less effective.

For example, a weight loss product could say, 'Joe lost 50 pounds in 29 days, but I should tell you Joe's story is one of the most amazing success stories we've seen. Most people lose about 21 pounds over the same period and of course some people lose even more ''

How refreshing is it to hear an advertiser not hide behind disclosures or fine print. I understand some industries must include disclosures and that's fine. I'm just saying don't hide behind them.

Consumers are skeptical now more than ever. Their first reaction is to not believe you.
That's an opportunity for you to stand out from the rest simply by being straight-forward and honest with your customers. Think they'll trust you more?

You bet they will.

So what are the typical results your customers experience? Are they saving more money? How much? Are they saving time? How much more time do they save?

Geico has been very effective with its tag line: '15 minutes could save 15% or more' based on their own analysis that its customers save 15% on car insurance. A local mortgage broker advertises that its customers save $1,243 a month on their bills after refinancing with them.

You really can advertise effectively and be honest about it. Wouldn't that be a refreshing change? Perhaps you'll even make a few new friends as a result at the next cocktail reception or back-to-school night.

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,