Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy: 5 Real-World Examples

"If you have a great offer, weak marketing actually does everyone a disservice." – Stefanie Flaxman

In my youth, a former coworker once told me, “I’d never date anyone who works in marketing.”

When I inquired about his reasoning, he replied:

“It’s just so sleazy. Choosing that line of work says a lot about a person.”

Since I was young and impressionable, that sentiment stayed with me. So I was naturally conflicted years later when I wanted to make a living as a writer and discovered copywriting and content marketing.

At that time, I had two challenges:

  1. Promoting my writing business to prospects
  2. Justifying competitive rates and delivering a return on investment to the clients who hired me

Learning about marketing solved both of those issues. At the risk of being viewed as “sleazy,” I went for it.

Conscientious marketers don’t want to be associated with shady practices

This topic is similar to when I wrote about the difference between clickbait and damn good headlines.

When people who have legal, safe, useful offerings don’t want to be associated with those who use unethical practices, they often don’t fully market their products or services the best they can.

But if you have a great offering, weak marketing actually does everyone a disservice.

It reminds me of one of Sonia’s rules of digital business: Nothing sells itself.

I had to first feel confident that my writing services could help businesses achieve their goals, and then realize my marketing wasn’t tricking anyone into hiring me. I also wasn’t scamming anyone by not delivering what I promised.

My services deserved to be marketed, and the same is true for your writing business.

Any remarkable product or service you offer deserves stellar marketing.

The consumer is in charge

As bestselling author Daniel Pink has said:

“We’ve moved from buyer beware to seller beware.”

Consumers have a lot of choices, and they can perform extensive research to make smart buying decisions.

Here are five real-world examples of marketing and advertising that help educate prospects about their options in the marketplace.

1. Go-to wine

Years ago (I’m taking it back again), I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and the woman behind me was buying a bottle of Yellow Tail wine.

Even though I knew nothing about wine, I liked Yellow Tail and frequently brought it as a gift to parties.

Feeling chatty, I said to her, “That’s a good brand of wine.”

“Oh? I’ve never had it before,” she replied.

“The bottle stands out. It’s my go-to,” I informed her.

A few months later, I started seeing commercials for Yellow Tail wine on television, dubbing the brand “the go-to.”

Coincidence? Was the woman a copywriter for the company’s advertising agency?

We’ll never know. But I thought the campaign was a great way to communicate that the brand was fun, playful, and a good fit for any casual occasion.

2. Catwalk pants

I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on a long “skirt” I recently bought.

However, it’s actually a pair of pants.

When I asked the saleswoman inside the boutique where I got them if she could direct me to “the skirt in the store’s window,” she told me they’re called “catwalk pants,” which are similar to harem pants. I liked that even more. Sold.

If the store didn’t highlight some of the unusual items it sells, it wouldn’t attract the right prospects.

The window display led me to the lovely fashion find.

3. Soft drinks for $1

This past summer, McDonald’s ran an ad about their $1 any-size soft drinks.

If a thirsty prospect looking for a large soda didn’t know about this deal and chose one of McDonald’s competitors, McDonald’s wouldn’t get the sale and the prospect would pay more for a soft drink.

Because of this ad, a prospect has the information to make a choice that will save him money.

4. Haircut reminders

At the salon my friend Marie goes to, they ask customers for their email addresses and about how often they cut/color their hair.

Every time a customer comes in for an appointment, they start tracking that customer’s “hair journey” and send her an email reminder that it’s time to get her hair cut/colored at precisely the time the customer starts thinking about her hair needs.

This is Marie’s favorite part: They also offer 20 percent off the customer’s next visit, every time.

The salon knows the customer could easily go elsewhere, so the email reminder and discount encourages returning business.

5. Upcoming events

You know I’m picky about adding my email address to lists, but I rarely unsubscribe from newsletters I get after purchasing concert tickets.

Even if I don’t go to 98 percent of the featured shows, I like knowing about the live music events going on around where I live.

These newsletters are a free and convenient way for me to find out about my options, and I’ll eventually buy tickets from the vendor again.

Share your examples with us …

Have any examples of great marketing or advertising that makes the selection process for consumers easier?

Post your favorite in the comment section below.

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