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(Dis)Honesty in Marketing

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For a number of years I lived in North Scottsdale, Arizona.

Scottsdale, for the uninformed, is the more affluent region of the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

And sure, I played into the stereotypes – driving a Lexus RX450 Hybrid (which I loved driving) as well as spending – at times – up to $200 on a trendy pair of jeans or nice shirt.

One evening while I was out at Barcelona’s – a trendy night club off off Scottsdale and Bell Rd,  a woman who I was a friend with who I was trying to help introduce to other males said something I had to laugh at as I pointed at a guy who might hold her interest.

“He’s a dollar millionaire?,” she said.

I did a double take. The guy was dressed similar to me. And while his style clashed a little, I didn’t notice anything too off about him, but apparently she did, so I responded with my typical “huh?”

“He dresses like he’s a millionaire and has money. But like a lot of guys here, I will bet he doesn’t have but one dollar in his bank account, The dollar millionaire. More trouble than he’s worth,” she said.

She was proof positive to me of the vanity of many of the women in this area, and had presented a glaring reason why my relationship with her never went beyond simple friendship.

But what she said was funny.

There’s a professional term to this in the business world, “Truth in marketing.”

Lately I have noticed a nasty trend in deceptive marketing practices which deserve to be pointed out, as not only does this effect and manipulate the decisions that we as consumers use to influence what we buy, but it also effects credibility of the information and the sources that supply them.

And personally, I just don’t like it.

Take for instance this article posted today on Techcrunch. There’s a company named Discord that no one I know has ever heard of before, people who I might add are VERY involved in technology and active on the internet, which claims to have 25 million users using it.

Way back in high school, there was peer pressure to try something based on a statement other children would make.

That statement was “You have to try it, everyone else is doing it”

Which is precisely what this company, Discord, has done. They’ve created highly inflated statistics, somehow got posted on a reputable site which may do marginal fact checking, and viola, through the same high school marketing based on deception Discord has added accounts, and thus contacts, and thus potential revenue.

But once you’re there. The HOPE by a company like this that uses deceptive practices is that once you’re locked into using their services, you’ll switch others to it from their competition – which is clearly outlined in their own article.

Skype and Teamspeak.

Boo, hiss on Discord for deceptive marketing by using high school peer pressure tactics.

Grow up.

I’m not a fan of deceptive marketing practices.

On another side of bullshit practices in Marketing are those who leverage their voice to tear someone down.

Now this is a bit more of an insidious practice, as the reasons for it aren’t all that obvious or even publicly disclosed. You see this practice a LOT in very obvious ways with political ads, but when reporters and public advocates leverage them, it may not be obvious.

For instance.

Matt Novak. A contributor on many web sites from Gizmodo to Sizzle – who also has a respectable following on Twitter, seems to have it in for Donald Trump.

Now many years ago, I had an ex wife who could not find anything I did as good. So  divorced her. And this disdain for anything me only intensified which for a while really screwed up my life.

So just today. Matt Novak, professed his love in his own way of Donald Trump by posting an article on Gizmodo with the title “96 Companies Just Told Trump Where He Can Shove His Muslim Ban”

Have you ever heard of the tale about the Big Bad Wolf?

In a re-telling of that same story, its hard to listen to anything Matt Novak has to say with any real credibility when he has such a laser target focus on undermining Donald Trump in any way possible.

The moral of this story: Marketing, in this case undermining someones character through consistently derogatory articles is easily detected through paying attention to trends over time.

And with Mr Novak. A name I have repeatably seen on article after article after article just got himself tuned out.

Try to find something good to say about him and his decisions.

Or whatever you’re slamming.

That’s the moral of that story.

This leads to my final deviance in marketing for today.

One that I won’t name web sites (Wikipedia).

One that I won’t name names (no, really, I wont).

But let’s just say – credibility. I’ve done a lot of following up on inventions and ideas promoted on the internet, with seemingly reliable educators, researchers, and authorities to support the statements made.

Whether this is in science. Math. Psychology. Or social science.

And I am REPEATEDLY finding the equivalent of Hollywood style false fronts.

Educational institutions who’ve never heard of the doctor mentioned in a scientific journal who claims to be on staff there. Companies who promote products for YEARS with nothing to show for it. Game developers and game companies which flat out don’t seem to exist or hire.

And what I have come to learn with all this is.

It doesn’t hurt to be a skeptic of information that doesn’t align with your – or my – world view.

And sometimes. Diving into and researching these false claims provides precisely the evidence we need to debunk the crap we may not want to hear to begin with.

Mr Novak, do you comprende?


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