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Eliminate the Asterisks in Your Marketing: Transparency for Relationship Marketing

Business-Building Ideas From Terry L. Brock

I can’t believe they allow this in advertising! Have you seen this? The cell phone companies (yes, those much-beloved companies that everyone adores and raves about how good their customer service is —- NOT!) have done it again.

Recently I was looking at some possibilities for connecting my laptop to the Net through the Wireless cards now available. This is a great service and I’ve used it before form a couple of different carriers.

Recently, however, I hit the roof when I saw the new-fangled rip-off they are perpetrating. This is not from just one carrier but several are doing it. They advertise unlimited usage and then they have that tiny little asterisk next to the word unlimited. Come to find out what they mean by unlimited and what you and I mean are two different concepts — and you get ripped off as a result.

That cute little asterisk they put in there is to show that they define unlimited as only 5GB per month. That is NOT unlimited. It has a limit! I don’t know about you, but where I grew up, out in the country, we said that unlimited means, well, unlimited — no limit. Well, golly! I guess the new way of doing things is to put a LIMIT on UNLIMITED!

I could understand if they said access was $X up to 5GB and then $Y for each megabyte over that. No problem. I understand they can’t give everyone 900 Terabytes of download bandwidth every day and stay in business. However, don’t tell me it is unlimited when it is not!

See the problem is that hype erodes your credibility. Think about it. When you hear too much hyperbole in a marketing pitch, don’t you just feel the hairs on the back on your neck rise? When a company resorts to way too much hype it hurts any trust that had previously been built. Yet, this is what a lot of companies have resorted to in this economy. I guess they think that by inflating the hype factor, they can get more business.

That is not what Relationship Marketing is about. Real Relationship Marketing — the kind we believe in and the kind that works — eliminates the asterisks from advertising. Be honest with people. If the cellphone carriers limit it to 5GB that is fine. We understand. They can charge more for more use and any serious businessperson will understand and adapt usage accordingly. Just don’t tell me unlimited in the ad with a cute little weasel asterisk. You only hurt your own creditability — and ultimately sales.

This all comes from the a lack of other thinking. By this I mean thinking of the problem from the other person’s point of view. See the problem —- and write your marketing — from the other person’s point of view. Think of a real customer and think about what he or she is going through. Then design your marketing around that. Being real and transparent gives you a competitive advantage in a world of way too much hype.

Hype erodes your creditability. The worst part of it is that the damage can be permanent or take a lot of time, money and effort to overcome. It is better to be real, genuine and fair with customers.

Use technology to leverage what you can do to help more people in ways that generate more value for them. A good example of that is what the people at Nuance Software are doing with their Dragon Naturally Speaking and MacSpeech Dictate products. I’ve just been evaluating both of these on the Windows and Mac platforms recently.

These products help you talk into your computer and then turn the speech into text. It is a great way to talk a letter to a prospect a client or important contact. You can talk faster than you type. Using a tool like these helps a lot.

Their newest versions give increased accuracy and I’m very impressed. To see more about them watch the video interview I had with Peter Mahoney of the Dragon Division at Nuance Software. He not only talks about what the products do but also discusses how real-world people are using these products to solve real problems. To see the video go to: Watch particularly for the part where you discover how to talk into your portable cell phone and have speech translated into text. Amazing technology!

And that is the way to succeed in today’s economy. Find products that help people in a real way. Drop the hype. Drop the asterisks and provide serious, genuine products that help people get their work done faster, easier and make it more convenient to connect with others. Nuance software is doing this with their Dragon Naturally Speaking and their MacSpeech Dictate products.

So, how can you drop the asterisks in your business and be more transparent and real with customers? The answer to that question can help generate more business for you!

Maybe the cellphone companies are reading this and will drop the lousy unlimited fabrication and become genuine! You never know!! I’m the eternal optimist!

Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock.

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