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If marketing was a bakery

We would probably hate cake.

As a baker, when your cake doesn’t taste great, the best thing you can do is to learn to bake a better tasting cake.

The default approach of many marketers is different. They will take the cake and decorate it beautifully. Invent a story about how the recipe is an ancient and long forgotten secret of someone’s grandmother. Throw some incentives in so you can get three if you buy two (although you might not even want one). And have a celebrity, who never tasted the cake, tell us how delicious it is.

And then, when you’ve tricked the customer into buying that piece of cake, trust erodes as the experience falls short of the expectation.

The first bite is with the eye. But sooner or later, the customer gets to experience the actual taste. If the actual bite isn’t great, that first impression will quickly be forgotten.

The default approach to marketing is prone to deception: Give me what you have and I will make it appear attractive and find ways to persuade a customer to buy it.

Lighting the path is different because it starts with a great cake. You decorate a great cake not as a means to hide a weakness but because it makes a great cake even greater. You don’t invent a story about the recipe to make it appear cooler, you tell the actual story because it’s fascinating, let’s say due to the breathtaking attention to detail in making the cake.

Now, when the actual bite confirms the eye’s bite, it builds trust. And we might fall in love with the cake. And buy a second one even without any incentive.

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