The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Fake It Til You Make It Marketing

A recent contretemps (I have been waiting AGES to use that word!) on a social media site revealed a marketing … well, quite honestly, it was a boner.  And a big one.  (Can’t wait to see the spam link comments on this posting.)

Would you buy a used car from this man?

A marketer, using a “stage name” was putting on a virtual seminar. To promote his seminar, he created fan pages for some of the bigger names in the industry and then used those fake social media profiles to comment favorably on the upcoming event as those people.

Any way you slice it kids, this is out and out fraud.  This is FTC territory and boneheaded to boot. He was quickly found out and called on the carpet for his actions. He was reported to the attorney general’s office and the FTC as well as the social media sites he used.  Several of the real speakers who were lined up to do the event pulled out.

There’s nothing wrong with using a stage name or a pen name – as long as you’re not trying to hide your identity in order to defraud anyone.

There’s nothing wrong with adding some sizzle to your marketing message. Just be sure that when you give people the steak, it isn’t made of pink slime.

But there IS something -- no, wait – EVERYTHING wrong with stealing people’s identities and creating false testimonials.  In short, it is wrong to present yourself as something (or someone) you’re not. But if you’re one of my regular readers, you know this already.

I think people mistake the advice "Be an Expert" to mean "Present yourself as an expert whether you are qualified or not.”  Frankly, many people can make someone LOOK like an expert online in under 30 days.  All it takes is a good marketing plan. But the charade falls apart pretty fast when that expert can't deliver on what's promised. I've seen a few people implode because they couldn't walk their talk.

With the all the information now at people’s fingertips, you can no longer fake it til you make it.  People check up on your claims, mostly because it is now fast and easy to do so.

The whole "Fake it til you make it" mentality that seems to have gripped the country these days is doing no one a service.   Yes, marketing is showing yourself in the best light possible.  As a friend says, you don’t really want to bring up your flaws on the first date.  Most probably, if you have been in an industry for a while, you have experience and a certain degree of expertise.  You probably also have something that differentiates you from your competition.  Capitalize on that.  The truth is there are very few people who are the only source of information in any field. Even if you are a bona fide expert, you are competing with other experts. You end up taking turns being the media’s darling.

What matters at the end of it all is that you provide what you said you would. And more.  When someone has paid you for services or product and you don’t deliver, they really don’t care that you rode in Tony Robbins’ private jet or had dinner with Donald Trump.  All they will care about is that they spent money with you and you didn’t take care of them.

Yeah, it sucks when someone with fewer credentials or experience than you flashes by as they’re rocketing to the top.  A fast trip up usually precedes a fast trip down.  Take your time. Build your business. Make it a solid foundation.  Take care of your clients. And heed the words of Mark Twain (aka Sam Clemens).

“Remember, if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

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  • Tara Jacobsen · 08/15/2012 at 3:42 am

    As a human, it is hard to watch someone else shooting straight up KNOWING that they are not all they claim to be BUT I do agree that most times that upward path comes shooting down just as fast!!! One of the BIG reasons to find good, solid, successful people to stalk so that you can see hard work pays off in the end….LOVE your stuff babe!

    PS – Who was it…dying to know!!!!

  • Admin comment by barbarag · 08/15/2012 at 4:00 am

    Can’t name names, but it was interesting to watch the implosion. Love your stuff, too!

  • Benjy Portnoy · 08/15/2012 at 4:51 am

    Great post. This happens WAY too much these days…especially in the “Expert Industry.” It’s a tough, crowded, over-saturated market. But the lack of culpability and personal accountability is, like you said, doing everyone a disservice.

  • Rev. Stephen B. Henry, PhD. · 08/15/2012 at 11:33 am

    You nailed it, Barbara. Thanks for taking a much needed stand on this issue. A legitimately over-saturated market is never a problem. There is always a place for qualified experts. But with the numbers of unqualified “wannabes” being turned out by well-meaning (and sometimes just money grabbing) gurus these days, more and more consumers are getting hurt, and jaded. That does not bode well for the future of the experts industry.

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