Marketing vs Misselling: Ethical Marketing and Credibility
February 6, 2017

If you’re a business owner today, chances are you’re working in a very competitive market. Thanks to the internet, consumers now have more choice than ever over who to give their hard-earned money to. With that in mind, you might start to think a bit of embellishment is needed in your marketing communications to get ahead.

In this blog, we will explain why that is the worst thing you could possibly do.

First Impressions

It’s an old adage to say that a good first impression is important, there’s no denying it. But is there such a thing as a first impression that’s too good? We certainly think so. Imagine you meet someone through an online dating site and everything about their profile is perfect – it also feels too good to be true. And then you meet them in person, only to find that their picture was heavily photoshopped, they lied about their hobbies and it turns out they’re not even really Sagittarius.

Safe to say, you wouldn’t give them a second date and it’s the same with your customers. If you promise them the world from the outset, it will only lead to stronger feelings of regret and disappointment.

Be honest from the outset. Your offering should speak for itself. If it doesn’t, your offering needs work.


Have you ever forked over a load of cash for an ad campaign but never really seen the desired results? Maybe you’re thinking the message wasn’t quite right or you’re distributing in the wrong places? Well we’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news but truth is, a lot of people don’t always believe the ads they see. In fact, a study released by marketing research firm Lab42 suggests that 76% of consumers think ads contain exaggerated claims.

You can test this yourself at home. Watch any commercial TV channel for more than thirty minutes and you’ll likely see a hatful of ads making claims that seem too good to be true. And the reason consumers distrust advertisements: the source. Of course a company’s own ad is going to talk about how great they are, but consumers are savvier than that. They can now access page upon page of honest and impartial reviews on your product with just a few clicks online.

At Mischievous Marketing, this is a area we face every day when creating marketing plans for financial advisors. In this particular industry, earning the trust of consumers is vital to the success of the business. Advertising can be an effective strategy in some isolated cases, but more often we would recommend PR strategies and increasing word-of-mouth recommendations through profile building, which brings us nicely to our final point.

Post-purchase Satisfaction

Remember when we said to be honest about your offering? Promising services and not delivering will leave a sour taste in the mouths of your customers. Post-purchase satisfaction is an often forgotten aspect of marketing strategies, not to mentioned thoroughly undervalued. Some companies may take the view that the money is in the till, so it’s out of their hands now.

What these companies aren’t taking into account is the possibility of repeat purchases. If consumers had a good experience with you the first time around, chances are they’ll come back to you when they need to do business again.

Even if you’re offering a type of service that is unlikely to result in a direct repeat purchase, post-purchase satisfaction will help build your brand profile and eventually result in those precious word-of-mouth recommendations we mentioned.