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On Sending the Wrong Message

Or how not endorsing your own product sends the wrong message to your customers. It’s not rocket surgery: if you sell tomatoes, you’d better eat your own tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The spark

I just passed by a car that had an inscription of the company’s domain on it: autopiele (translated as autoleather). Out of curiosity, I went next to it while making a small personal bet that it wouldn’t have leather upholstery. I was right. Now what kind of screwed up business does that? If you have advertising being driven around town, It had better endorse your own product.

Yes, but…

I Can’t Afford It

Well, then you’re sending the wrong message. If it’s too expensive for you, maybe it’s too expensive for your customers. And that’s not something you want to say. If your customers can afford it – a matter of targeting the right customers – then you should too. Otherwise you’re practically saying your below their level. Again, not something to put on display. You don’t have to match your customers income in order to afford the product you’re selling.

All I’m Trying to Say Is “Come inside, we’re open”

Of course you are. But here’s the question: if you own a brick and mortar store, would you let its windows broken or graffiti painted on its walls? Of course you wouldn’t. Because it would send the wrong message. It’s the same thing. Talk the talk, walk the walk.

It’s Just a Detail

No, it’s not just a detail. If you don’t eat your own dog food, it’s probably shit. Regardless of product or target, your customers are gonna picked that up, consciously or not. And anyway, even if it were just a detail, we all know that God is in the details. Right?

The Status Quo

I’ve noticed this sort of behavior in a lot of companies, small and large. I’ve talked about it with some of my own clients. I’m surprised that it has to be explained, because it’s one of the first lessons we learn in life (you know how parents always to dress up their kids and educate them in order to have them look appropriate?).

Unfortunately, in spite of how basic this marketing lesson is and how inexpensive it is to implement, most businesses only start applying it after some expensive marketing or PR firm convinces them.

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