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Truth shaping – the dark side of marketing

The dark side of marketing is what I call “truth shaping”.

It leads marketers to exaggerate the pros and hide the cons in order to shape a truth that fits into the marketing story.

Essentially, the dark side of marketing leads businesses to spend huge resources on inventing promises that sound irresistible for products that aren’t.

Which inevitably leads to frustration when the product doesn’t meet the buyer’s expectations. That, in turn, leads the dark side to make even bolder promises which leads to more frustration … which leads to … a vicious cycle …

Great marketers understand that it’s the other way around and that a virtuous cycle is possible.

The best products are those that customers love even more when they know the complete truth. Those that are not irresistible because the promise sounds irresistible but because it is irresistible.

Those that have been built with the customer in mind and that solve a specific problem they have.

These products might not be perfect. But that’s not the same as irresistible.

It basically reverses the shaping. Rather than build a product and then shape the truth so that the irresistible promise can somehow fit the product, you start with an irresistible promise and shape the product to fit into the promise.

If it eventually does, you’ll need to merely tell me a true story about your product in plain English.

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