This Is Why Brilliant Marketing Teams Never Lie
April 8, 2019

This Is Why Brilliant Marketing Teams Never Lie

by Brian de Haaff

What would an ideal world look like to you? Your answer might be slightly different than mine, but I believe most of us would include some fundamentals — integrity, kindness, and service to others. It might seem odd to say that you can be a part of making this happen through your work. Especially if you work in marketing, which often gets targeted as mischievous and dishonest.

The world is imperfect but marketing teams are in a unique position to be forces for good.

I realize this is a bold statement, so let me explain. As a marketing manager, you have the opportunity to share messages with large audiences — through emails, online ads, and more. And as a highly skilled communicator, you have the ability to make a lasting impact. The messages you send influence how people think in a fundamental way.

Unfortunately, those messages can get overhyped. I am sure you have seen the type I am talking about. The clickbait, the misleading illustrations, the promise of something “free” when the reality is a list of hidden fees. Yes, these messages can grab attention — but they do not show the truth of what is possible with a product or service.

But that is not how marketing teams today need to work. We can choose to lead and market with both positivity and truth.  

This is important because what we see and hear every day has a significant, cumulative effect on how we view the world. And in our fractured society that is full of division and conflict, it is more necessary now than ever to surround ourselves with messages of hope and gain.

You can serve others well, promote and increase profit for a business, and be a force for good — all at the same time. While I am writing specifically about marketing, I believe these lessons apply to most of us in our work:

Lead with integrity
Be clear on what your company or brand stands for and how you want to be perceived. Then let these values drive your marketing — especially the messages that you are sending to your audience. Ask yourself, “Is this true to our values and what we want people to know about us?”

Resist exaggerations
We have all read online ads or email newsletters with blatant puffery that feels empty, or worse, deceitful. The goal should be to show prospective customers the value that you can deliver. So, stay away from hyperbole and strive to tell your marketing story simply and without embellishments.

Focus on benefits
That story should continually answer the question, “How are we improving customers’ lives?” Focus on the benefits that your product or service offers — whether it is bringing people more convenience or helping them save time. It is okay to reference the pain you are solving, without stoking fear.

Avoid the competition
Now, I am not saying that you should ignore the competition altogether. Of course you need to research the competitive landscape to help inform your strategy. But if you really believe in the product or service you are standing behind and marketing, then there is no reason to resort to mudslinging.

We all want to be surrounded by things that uplift rather than drag us down. So let’s choose better.

The next time you set your marketing strategy or build out your marketing roadmap, think about the impact of what you share and the words you use. It is a big responsibility, but it is also a privilege.

How do you express your values through your work?

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Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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