This is the first in a series of posts discussing several challenges that marketers face in reaching their customers and how to overcome those challenges. This iteration deals with the inability of consumers to trust advertising. Part two deals with the prevalence of advertising. Future articles present solutions to help marketers overcome the challenges described.
A couple of weeks ago, my brother, a successful endodontist (root canals), heard an ad on the radio for a local used-car dealership. In the ad, the dealership touted that they want to buy your used car and would pay virtually any car owner $3,000 more than the car was worth. Upon visiting the web site, there are large ads , headlines and even a video stating that even if you don’t buy one of their cars, they’ll buy yours.
As my brother is still hanging onto the car he had in college in the late 90s, he figured that the $3,000 bonus was even more than the car was worth so why not give the dealership a try? Needless to say, the salesman’s rampant backpedaling over the $3,000 deal obviated to my brother what we all suspected—the ad was merely an attempt to dupe potential customers into coming into their dealership. They had no interest in purchasing his well-used vehicle.
Of course, my brother is neither the first nor the last to experience deceptive practices in advertising- and marketing-related activities. It’s no surprise that a recent study by YouGov found that 50% of Americans don’t believe what they see, hear or read in advertisements. It’s also no surprise that said study listed advertisements for cars as the forth least trustworthy category of ads. Furthermore, nearly two thirds (58%) said that there should be stronger requirements for proving claims
The responsibility for this lack of trust in traditional advertising rest squarely on the shoulders of the decades worth of advertisers, marketers and organizations that have resorted to mindless gimmicks similar to the one that duped my brother. It creates a serious challenge for those of us who try to market legitimate products and services using above-board strategies and tactics. It also plays a significant role in a consumer’s nearly involuntary reaction to sales-related messaging, where at best it is simply ignored or at worst resented.
We call on marketers and advertisers everywhere to give up the lies and gimmicks and develop something of real, salient value to their customers.
The next post in this series will explore the prevalence of advertising and how that further challenges the marketing landscape.