Don’t risk your business and consumer relationship over ‘alternative facts’

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fact-signs-truth-ss-1920A new term popped up recently, and it’s a dangerous one for marketers. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to our new president, introduced us to the term “alternative facts” just days after his inauguration. And because I’m a child of the ’80s and ’90s, I’ve learned things from presidents and first ladies of the past: I’ll always “Just say no” as Nancy Reagan taught us in elementary school.

My concern with the term “alternative facts” is not a political one, but rather one of good conscience for marketers.

As content marketers, we have a duty to ensure what we’re sharing with our customers is true information that’s fully representative of our brand or product. We’ve all seen marketing claims that we felt were seriously overstated, and it’s important that we don’t allow those types of practices to thrive in today’s content marketing era. It’s our duty to be honest about what the products or services we represent do for a customer.

Honesty is the best policy

Why does it matter if claims are exaggerated or people fudge a little bit in their marketing? It matters because today’s consumers expect honesty; they feel a connection to companies when they read custom content; and they count on us to ensure what we’re producing is honest.

We’re in an era where consumers are creating relationships with brands that publish custom content. They look forward to reading what we write, and they use it to help them make purchase decisions. It’s up to us to be honest and trustworthy.

We need to remember this and ensure we continue to provide helpful content that tells the right story. Don’t try to hide facts. Be open and honest.

Truth in advertising isn’t a new concept; it’s something anyone with a marketing degree most likely studied in college. There were huge issues with pricing and marketing claims in the ’70s, and steps were taken to reform the situation.

So, as a content marketer, what should we be focusing on? Answering your customers’ questions. Talk to them and ask what questions they have when they’re trying to decide between your product and a competitor’s.

Don’t lie or try to omit something to make your product seem better. Be honest, tell the truth, and provide information they can count on.

Don’t take advantage of that trust and positive relationship that content marketing is creating for you and your consumers. Respect it and protect it for the long term.

Continue to provide your customers with great content that’s useful and honest, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty and purchase when ready.

Imagine if the majority of the people who read your website content or blog post or saw something on social media would research your product and convert.

Focus on your customers and create great content, and you will likely be rewarded. As Nancy Reagan taught us in the 1980s, just say no — but this time, to alternative facts. Don’t let this new term sneak into your marketing efforts.

Don’t take advantage of the trust your consumers now place in you. It’s not worth risking all the efforts we’ve made as an industry over the past few years. It’s not worth the trade.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Rachel Lindteigen is the founder of Etched Marketing and the former Senior Director, Content Marketing for PMX Agency. Rachel has over twenty years of content writing, editing and strategy development and ten years of digital marketing experience. She works with many top e-commerce retailers and crafts both local and national level SEO strategies. Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University and an MBA in Marketing.


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