Can we stop lying about our products?

Can we stop lying about our products?

I’m reading the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

I’m not far in yet, but it’s been really good so far. 

It’s not necessarily groundbreaking for me to read at this point in my career, but it helps kinda put more direct labels and names on concepts that I have already come across through experience. 

My degree was communication so some of these marketing principles I’ve never really been “educated” about, so to speak. 

Nonetheless, today I read a chapter that I do indeed have a problem with. 

It is the Law of Perception. 

While on some level I do agree with the sentiment, that how a person views a brand of product is extremely important. But the chapter essentially argues that the truth and facts about your product aren’t important at all. 

This is the part I don’t agree with. 

I would argue that they are at LEAST as important as perception, if not more so. 

Perhaps this is simply one shift in the consumer mindset over the last 20 years with the rise of technology and of Big Data. 

There are actually objective ways to measure different brands’ products in the same category. 

We can run benchmark tests on phones, tablets, hard drives, computers, and even cars. 

We can measure the loudness of bathroom fans to pick one that is quieter. 

We can look at hard data about the reliability of car brands. 

I completely agree that there are legacy ideas out there about cars, but what do you do if the actual data backs that idea up? 

I think about Consumer Reports and how they have developed a reputation for these kinds of objective benchmark tests for all kinds of products. I really REALLY like that idea. 

The book mentions that Audi put marketing language that their car was proven the most reliable among German cars, and the author basically says that it doesn’t even matter if that’s true. 

It seems to me that it very much does. Not only would I want the ACTUAL most reliable car (assuming that was my most important buying factor), but I also wouldn’t want to buy a car from a company that literally just made up statistics to lie to me.

I’m not the president, I actually appreciate the real actual truth being told. 

It reminds me of all the “awards” that cars win. There’s basically an award for every make and model of car. Because they have ALL won some category 8 years in a row. A car winning an award is essentially a participation ribbon at this point. “Yes, you made a car, yay! Here’s an award.” 

I haven’t dug deeply, but perhaps there was an award at some point that was objectively given to car that outperformed in ACTUAL objective tests, the other models in the same category. I just feel bad for that company because there’s no real way to know what awards matter and what ones don’t. It’s just clear that there are plenty of awards that are meaningless. 

I would love to see a trend toward actual product improvement, instead of a constant focus on spin (read:lying) to the public to make more sales.