If you’re going to spin, don’t spin in reverse!

By Jeff Bowman

Little white lies, half-baked truths, sleight of hand and mind, all nothing but spin.  When something doesn’t go as planned, spin.  Caught in an awkward situation, spin Wanting to promote yourself as something you may not be, spin.  Even when your motive is to purposely deceive the customer, spin.

The trend to customer-centric marketing and sales, where the relationship you build is critical to the future growth, reputation and client retention facets of your business, seems to be taking a huge kick in the chops with more and more companies turning to “spin” to make all things right in their universe. The ability of social media to instantly expose the little gremlins that lurk in every business has changed the course of marketing for some organizations.

I am certainly not against focusing on the positive aspects of your business and your products, which, when done correctly, compensates for some of the minor bumps we all have in our business. What I am growing very weary of is the tactic of what I call “marketing mathematics”. Let’s take away here, add here, tip the equation in our favour but make the calculations so complicated the buying public thinks they are getting a deal.  Smart consumers see through the babble and are quickly turned off by “we are so much smarter than you attitude”

Businesses have learned this tactic from governments at all levels who reduce the taxes to save the voting public dollars in their pockets, while at the same time instituting “user fees”.  Bank machines were introduced in the beginning to save the cost of staff at branches. People still went into the banks, so a “convenience fee” was added to online and machine banking because you didn’t have to stand in line at the bank, while fees were also put in place for using the tellers!  Most recently the plastic bag tax and the ever popular “eco fee” on all electronics were put in place to encourage us to green up because it is good for us. They want you to live better so they make you pay. 

Yesterday I went grocery shopping, followed by a quick trip to my big box lumber store.  They must use the same marketing strategy because both stores had the same sign posted as you entered. “Our reduced lighting is helping to save energy”.  As I walked through the doors I was met by a blast of cold air that gave me goose bumps.  We are in a heat spell, so having my shopping experience slightly cooler than the heat outside would be refreshing, but the air conditioning was on full throttle. Employees had sweaters on, but it was indeed a little darker.  Now if the marketing mathematics that these stores want me to believe is correct, then turning off a couple of overhead fluorescent lights is equal to massive air conditioning units pumping out cool air. Last time I checked my bill, when my air conditioner goes on it is exponentially higher than turning off my lights. Saving energy indeed! The wide open freezers and refrigerated sections are definitely not on the “friends of the environment list”. And since when does hardware and lumber feel the heat?

Why can’t we just state facts instead of playing games with our clients? When costs go up, explain the reason, fuel costs, transportation etc. Don’t blame it “green”, or try to trick the customer with an array of fancy give and takes that always work out in your favour.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see a sign that says “We appreciate your business, and recognize that shopping comfortably is important to you. If it is important to you, it is important to us!”

If you are going to spin, make sure it isn’t in reverse!

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Filed under Communications, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized

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