The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. -Ogilvy
Or how NOT To Market To The Masses
We’re privileged to live in an age in which information is readily available. With a few keystrokes information on nearly every subject imaginable instantly appears on our monitors. As marketers we’re constantly adding to the information stream in the hopes that our information will influence buyers. We know that people like to use the web to research a product or service before making a purchase. We know that online research influences offline purchases.
Yet among a large number of Internet-savvy marketers you will see an ugly bit of pseudo-wisdom espoused. It usually goes something like this;
‘Joe Surfer is dumb’. Or, “The average consumer is an idiot’. Or ‘My clients are morons’.
Smart marketers would do well to remember Ogilvy’s words. The consumer isn’t a moron; She is your wife. Tactics that are designed to deceive the consumer may work at first, but treating the consumer with respect works forever.
With all the information consumers have available to them you simply must take into consideration the fact that some of them will take advantage of that information.
People like to feel good about themselves. People that feel as if they have been tricked or belittled simply don’t buy, and what’s worse, angry consumers tell everyone they know about their experience.
As marketers we’re used to marketing ourselves. With every blog and forum post we make, we help establish our identity and credibility. Every title we write is examined, every link we provide is scrutinized and if we fall into the trap of thinking that our ‘consumers’ are morons, we run the risk of destroying all the trust we’ve built up over the years.
As an example of the risk we run, I’d like to offer up a case study on a marketer that didn’t listen to Ogilvy’s wisdom.
Brian Vaszily is the author of several books and a columnist for Sixwise.com His articles for Sixwise include How Stores are Secretly Using Barry Manilow to Rob You and Rebate Scams: and How I Deceive the Heck Out of You with Consumer Rebates. Nothing wrong with writing marketing articles. Unless you try to pull one over on your ‘consumers’.
In this case, some of his consumers were the people at Metatalk. His self-promotion didn’t go over too well.
The author of both pieces is Brian W. Vaszily. Brian W. Vasily’s wikipedia page was created by wiki user bapistacio. bapistacio at yahoo dot com reviewed Brian W. Vaszily’s book for bookreporter.com, claiming that “I have seen nothing but outstanding reviews for this little masterpiece, and this time, the reviews are all true.” Brian, at least, seems to have a history of self promotion,
This jibes with the email address on the youlikeme username. Banned.
Doubly ironic, considering that he promotes himself as an expert in marketing ethics, the subject of both pieces. How postmodern.
Hey, a con man who’s into “supplements”? Check. Cashing in on the victims of 9/11? Check. Self-linker and spammer? Check.
And now, unfortunately for Brian, the MetaTalk comments show up in a good number of searches for his articles simply because he underestimated his consumers.