Is Your Marketing Dr. Jekyll or Mr Hide?

Michael Beauchemin —  November 14, 2013

“Hence, although I had now two characters as well as two appearances, one was wholly evil, and the other was still old Henry Jeckyll, that incongruous compound whose reformation and improvement I had already learned to despair.” Dr-Jeckyll-Mr-Hyde1

Recently I just finished re-reading the classic by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jeklyll and Mr Hyde.  The above passage is from the book.  We are all familiar with story: Dr Jekyll, a brilliant scientist and member of the elite English society creates a potion to alter his personality.  He transforms from the congenial, nondescript, English gentleman to a self-centered, vile human being whose only focus is his own gratification.

In marketing we often see both:  Marketing that is bland, boring, nothing controversial or memorable.  Every time you turn on the television you view “just another commercial.” Five minutes after viewing the ads you can’t recall a single one.

Then there is the opposite extreme.  Marketing and advertising that is a blatant exaggeration of what the product or service will deliver. I refer to both of these as the Dr. Jecklyll and Mr Hyde approach to marketing.  The bland, boring nondescript marketing verses the opposite end of the spectrum – marketing that sets unrealistic expectations of what the product or service can or will do.

Dr. Jekyll Takeaways

Destroy the bland, boring, “me too”  reasons for why clients should choose your product or services.  Having a “who cares” reason for why a customer should choose you does not resonate.  Why would I choose a service from a family owned business.  Do I really care if your great grandfather, grandfather, father, mother, sister or brother started the business.  It may give you comfort, but I don’t give a flip.  As a customer, when deciding on who I should choose, I want you to make a compelling case for me to choose you over your competitor, being family owned is not one.

Avoid the: “We Deliver Unparalleled Customer Service” tagline.  Every website out there has it.  Why should I believe you?  If you want to demonstrate how you will help me, let your clients do the talking.  Let them provide specific details about what you did for them in their own words.  You can provide case studies and share the information from your customer’s perspective.  I want to examples of how you went the extra mile to help them solve a troubling problem, saved them money, enhanced their buying experience, etc. Video testimonials are great for delivering your message about what sets you apart.

Mr Hyde Takeaways

Don’t bull@^&$ me with your marketing message or false advertisements.  If your marketing message is dishonest, bait and switch or fails to meet expectations than customers will either not believe you in the future or just walk away and ignore you.  Several years back, I went to buy a new car based on the advertised price in a newspaper.  Before going I called and emailed the dealership to verify car color, details and availability of the car.  On my way down and just minutes before arriving I called again to verify the same information advertised.

After taking it out for a test drive, I decided to purchase the car at the advertised price.  Only one problem: The dealership decided to play games. Amazingly, between the time I completed the test drive and walking back to the sales floor they “sold” the one advertised car they had , but wanted to get me purchase the same car, color and options only at a higher price.  With some parting salty language I up and left.  I never returned to that dealership and shared my negative experience with every person I knew and many I didn’t know.  I am sure the negative feedback about my experience dissuaded at least a couple of people from purchasing from that dealership.

There is information to quickly determine the reputation of a business.  With on-line reviews, social media, etc., word spreads very quickly if your product or service is garbage and your advertising is BS.  After reading a few negative reviews potential customers simply move on to your competitor with better reviews.

Always treat customer with honesty and integrity.  Sure you can grab quick sales and spike revenues with false promises, crappy products and lousy customer service, but your relationships and follow-on sales will be non-existent. Social media will eat you alive.  Consider how quickly information goes viral today.

Resolve issues quickly and exceed customer expectations when a problem presents itself.  It has been about 4 months since I had issues with Lowe’s Home Improvement repair center and because of how I was treated by their repair center, I have not stepped into a Lowe’s store since.   How many follow-on and long term customers are you loosing because of a disregard to customer problems and issues. All someone had do at the repair center is take ownership of my problem and deliver to me a successful resolution.  I would have been thrilled.

Sure, whenever I called them they said all the right things, but their actions spoke volumes.  Being treated as a disregarded entity with total indifference is not acceptable.  Is that how you treat customer that come to you with problems?  Do you just calm them down to get them off the phone and don’t follow through with a resolution that is satisfactory to them?

Marketing Needs to be Memorable but Not Reprehensible

“Strange as my circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as old and commonplace as man; much the same inducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it fell out with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose the better part and was found wanting in my strength to keep to it.”

Good marketing is not only memorable, but is honest, highlights your Unique Selling proposition and attracts visitors.  It is not bland or boring as Dr Jeckyll perceived himself to be or evil and reprehensible like the later ego, Hr Hyde.

Like that last passage, many businesses may want to do the right but seem to lack a willingness to truly follow through and stick to it.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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