How refreshing – being honest with your marketing!

Have we come to the point where everything has become so manufactured, that being honest makes a refreshing change? Honesty is becoming harder to come by. Politics has never had the best reputation for honesty, but in some quarters, they have reached new lows of propagating information they know perfectly well to be untruthful, but equally knowing there are enough gullible people out there to get away with it!

Could honest marketing make a refreshing change?

What we mean by honest marketing? We mean cutting to the chase, keeping it simple, no pretences. Not making it any more than it is. Being proud that your product or service does not answer all the problems in the world, but it is really good at one thing.

There is more to this than just the marketing. It encompasses the product or service itself and the goals of the creators. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to provide an all-encompassing solution, rather than focussing on just doing one thing really well. In trying to be too much for too many, you run the risk of failing or at least disappointing many. That is not to say, you can’t meet with success, but is this the best option? Most business take this approach and it filters through to their marketing.

With so many trying to be the answer to everything, it is much easier to stand out by swimming in the opposite direction. This starts at ground level with the product or service and then translating that to the marketing.

Basecamp is a great example of a company that has not decided to follow the path of its competitors and try and create products with the most features, rather they have focused on doing less, but doing it really well. They have chosen the simplicity model which has been incredibly successful for them. They are not interested in being the biggest, that is not their motivation. They prefer the keeping it simple and doing it really well approach.

Feedback from clients has been that they love the simplicity. They are proud to say that their products don’t have all the features of others, rather they focus on what they really need and making it the best experience. The key is to be honest and own this position. Much better to do this than to project that your product/service is much more than what it really is! People will respect that honesty and will based on today’s standards, find it refreshing.

Some of the most refreshing and successful ads have used a combination of honesty with comedy. A personal favourite is this ad from the DollarShaveClub:


They don’t pretend that their razor has the features of others, rather they ask, do you really need them? They have identified that the core issues are  a) having a razor with a high quality blade b) cheap price* c) forgetting to buy more razors. They indicate that people pay too much due to the expensive marketing and to solve the ordering problem, they will post them right to you. Their ad is not an expensive production, which is part of the point too! They want people to save on cost! They have demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues facing their target market and have tackled them head on. We know that they have gotten their interpretation of their market right, because they have done so well!

Could telling it “like it is”, be a refreshing change? Not over hyping things? Could this work for you and your business?

If we all do the same things, don’t expect a different outcome. In order to achieve cut through, dare to be different. Different right now could mean bringing more honesty into your product/service and its marketing!

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