Can you stand by YOUR Marketing?

First published Friday, July 12, 2013

This week has seen the ‘Interview’ round on the popular TV series The Apprentice. It’s also seen a number of interviews taking place for new staff members for our team here too. There’s also been an interesting YouTube video sent to me which made me think about marketing, and the claims we all make as part of that.

So, interviews. Just one part of the whole ‘applying for a job’ process, and aside from making sure that your CV makes sense, probably one of the more challenging aspects in many ways. These days, getting to be offered one can sometimes be considered an achievement, especially when there are so many applicants for each and every post. Of course, getting to that stage will depend a great deal on what you have put on your CV, how it is worded, how it’s presented. Essentially your CV is your own personal marketing campaign.

With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that what you put on that piece of paper is up to scratch, and perhaps more importantly, truthful. Those of you who spent a few minutes or more on Wednesday evening watching The Apprentice will have been party to some very interesting interviewing techniques, and been able to witness a number of candidates coming unstuck to varying degrees when it transpired that the words on the paper didn’t actually correspond with the reality of the situation. Those doing the interviews had clearly done plenty of background work to delve in to the past history of each candidate, and whilst it can be said there is some ‘drama’ added for the purposes of the TV show, the basic principle remains the same – they were looking into the marketing claims being made.

That brings me on the the interesting YouTube video. I am not going to post a link to it, nor go into detail on the content as it is likely that there will be some further discussion with the producers of it in the near future, potentially on a more serious footing. However the story behind it is quite simple – this particular company has produced a video promoting their product, in which they make a number of claims implying that they are the only company doing things in a particular way, and indirectly alleging that other companies providing a similar product are not doing so in a safe or appropriate manner.

The video prompted a host of angry comments to refute a number of the allegations made, which are indeed untrue. The producers of the video appear however to be maintaining that the claims made are valid, and that the tack they have taken with their marketing is right. I will watch with interest how it pans out over the next few weeks, but it did make me stop and think.

Here in Pembrokeshire Tourism we have spent some considerable time over the last few months looking at our own marketing, and what we are saying. We are working on updating and refreshing those messages to keep them clear and to the point. We are also making sure that all we say can be supported and proved.

With that in mind, when was the last time you looked at what you communicate through your marketing? Are your messages up to date, clear, truthful and able to be supported and evidenced? The savvy consumer will take a little time to look into things if they are genuinely interested in buying from you. If you are saying that you have excellent and consistently good reviews, yet the TripAdvisor pages suggest otherwise, who will the consumer believe? It may be that the likes of TripAdvisor are providing excellent reviews for your business, yet your website and other marketing activity aren’t promoting this.

Getting the message right can take time, but it is important to make sure you do get it right. It’s about you, your business and your reputation. Don’t end up like one hapless candidate on The Apprentice who was told in no uncertain terms that the interview was over, and a thoroughly uncomplimentary judgement passed on his character. By all means make strong claims, big claims even, but make sure you can back them up and prove them. Then you’ll be able to say, with confidence, that yes, you can stand by your marketing.

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