Why Transparency in Marketing Is Key
Say goodbye to gotcha marketing
One of my long-time dentist clients recently received an email from what appeared to be a staff member of a dental practice in another state. The email gave him props on his blog articles and offered to let him use a dental health-related infographic that their practice had developed. He forwarded this offer to me to check out, and while the English looked a bit odd (smacking of a possible SPAM email), there was no doubt that the attached infographic was informative about gum disease. I reached out to the author of the email offer, “Victoria”, to let her know we were writing a blog that Friday and would like to take her up on the offer to use the infographic. When I received her reply the next day, again it was written awkwardly as though maybe it was coming from another country and not the actual dentist’s office. Oh and there was an embed code to add with the graphic pointing to the dental practice who supposedly developed the graphic. As a routine part of our vetting process, I called the dental practice shown in “Victoria’s” email domain since there was no actual contact information in her email, another indicator we should probably validate the offer. When I called the practice, the front desk had never heard of “Victoria” nor the infographic.
The story goes on straight down a spiraling rabbit hole. The front desk asked me to forward Victoria’s email to them. Then start the psychotic emails from “Victoria” asking why we accused her of all sorts of crimes against humanity. Turns out that “Victoria” is just a fictitious name used by a third party marketing firm hired by the dental practice. Also turns out that in fact “Victoria” is European and while the dentist nor his office knew the tactics this third party marketing service was employing, they seemed to be okay with it once we spilled the beans.
This is trick marketing. The SEO marketer who came up with this marketing strategy knows this. While their defense was “no webmaster would return their emails if they thought they were dealing with a third-party marketing firm versus the actual dental practice”, it’s still deceptive.
Today customers have more choices than ever, and customers choose to do business with companies that are honest and transparent. We’ll pay more to do business with companies who refrain from gotcha-marketing. No one likes to feel like they’ve been bamboozled–whether that’s not being upfront about the actual person sending the offer, offering marketing tactics that don’t deliver any value, or sending out offers that make a customer look bad.
The marketer is faced with two roads. One road is paved with gimmicks and tricks that confuse customers into clicking or taking action. The other road is lined with a value-added service. We would have used that infographic and given a backlink and credit to the other dental practice had the marketer been transparent.
Moral to the story—when selecting a marketing firm, ensure they are upfront and transparent because after all, they represent YOU.