Lie to me please; it sooo makes me want you

It’s not that I’m stupid (I hope); it’s just that some things bobble about in my little brain and make no sense to me. Like why do TV ads for those “save time” inventions say “No CODs.” Does anyone use CODs any more? Does the post office even provide that service? Or, why on detective shows when they’ve taken clandestine photos of the bad guy, are they in black and white? Who uses black and white film? Who uses film for that matter; except for true photographers and artisans? Can you see the dialog leading up to the black and white photo

I'll get right on it -- can I use some Photoshop filters?

I'll get right on it -- can I use some Photoshop filters?

Captain: We need photos of Johnny Badguy. He’s out there right now. Get out there and shoot the photo  right away!

Detective: You’re on it.

Four hours later…

Captain on intercom to detective: What’s taking you? How long can this possibly take?

Detective: Oh, you just wanted it direct from the camera? I’m sorry. I downloaded it to my computer and the first thing I did was remove the colors to make it black and white. Then, I thought, ‘Wow, that looks great.’ So, I’ve  been applying different filters to it. I’ve addd a slight gausian blur to the background; make it’s look better. Now, I’m removing some of those gunshot wound scars he has on his face. It’s really fixed him up nicely…

OK, I digress; I really didn’t mean to focus on those. My main question was supposed to be, “Why do some people/companies think that if they lie to me, I’ll be more inclined to buy from them?”

The lowest form of life

No matter how hard you try...

No matter how hard you try...

Of course, the primary culprit of this form of “marketing” is the spammer. These guys are to the internet and marketing what dog poop is to the bottom of your shoe; something you try and avoid at all costs; yet no matter how diligent you are, you’re still going to step in it every so often.

Spammers will use any technique they can to get past our barriers. We set up spam filters and email rules and all sorts of guards to avoid them, but they still get through. And one of the things I’ve never understood is their use of phony names and subject lines to get through to us.

As example, I’ll get an email from my dear friend Rich. The subject line will say something like, “When can we get together?” Of course, because I recognize the sender and the subject line sounds like a good idea, I will open the email, only to find it’s an advertisement for an offshore pharmacy or a new medication that will make me “pleese all the wemen in my live.”

So, let’s think like the sender shall we? He, she, it, is thinking, “Wow! This will get through the filter and the guards and Scott will open it and read it. Of course, he’ll be surprised when he sees it’s NOT from Rich, but will then think, ‘Gee, you lied to me. You wasted my time. You presented me with an offer I wasn’t looking for. Hmmm, sounds like something I’ll buy.'”

I mean, what gives? If I was looking to “make her wants for manhoodness  for more of the nightimes”, I would have looked it up on line. You got through to me. You lied. You misrepresented what you’re doing — and you think that entices me into buying from you! How stupid do you have to be?

Of course, I am saddened because I realize that it must be working at least some of the time, or they would stop doing it.

The next level of deception

Not quite as bad as spammers are those people who try and fool you into thinking you’ve already worked with them; which is actually what ignited this brain flame.

I received an email from what I think is a relatively-legitimate website that promotes self-help. Since a great deal of what I do falls within that category, I have received many emails from them. I have even saved a few, thinking I might get in touch with them. Then, the busier angels within say, “Scott, you have more important things to do right now,” so I hit command-delete (or control-delete for those still wedded to PCs; sigh…) and into the trash (recycling bin) it disappears. Finally, I realized that I was getting so many of their emails, that I deleted the sender from my approved list.

Well, not to be deterred, a new email shows up in my email box the other day. It’s from the same website, but it now has a different sender. I look at the message (my mistake) and it says,

Hello Scott, (So far, so good.)
Hope all is well!  (Hmmm, do they stay up nights concerned about my health?)
You had been in touch with xxx xxx earlier about advertising your website on (Totally not true; don’t even know him)
Are you still interested? (Let’s take a guess; have I returned any emails? Have I called you?)
Our company is making some major changes to our advertising programs that could provide you with significant exposure for your website and your business. (This might be accurate; but by now, I’ve already been mislead at least twice; do they really think I’m going to believe them now?)
If you are interested, please drop me a quick email or call me to discuss. My email is and my phone number is 111-111-111. If you are not interested, please drop me a quick email saying “No Thanks.”(Wouldn’t it be easier for me to simply not respond? I’ve been doing that quite well so far.)

I realize persistence is the key to success. And I read somewhere that it takes at least five contacts BEFORE you’ll get the attention of a prospect. But, wouldn’t it have made more sense to just be straight with me in the first place? Maybe a letter that went like this:

Hello Scott,

We know you’re busy. We know you’ve got 10,000 things to do. We also know that you want your website to be profitable for you.

That’s why we’re here.

We’re not going to tell you things that aren’t true. We aren’t going to promise you the world. But we are going to assure you that if you work with us, we will:

  • Help you increase traffic
  • Reach more customers
  • Save you time

If that sounds like it would be of interest (and we think it will), please get in touch.
Thank you.

Maybe it’s just me (OK, maybe it’s because I was the writer too), but I think an honest straight-forward approach will always beat a crooked or misleading one any day.

Marketing Rule for Today

NEVER mislead your customer. Be honest. You might not get the sale this time, but you’ll leave the door open for the next time. If you lie or “massage” the message; you’ll never get a second chance.


~ by scottqmarcus on April 10, 2009.

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