Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Honesty and Trust

I got a cheque in the mail last week from the Government of Canada. Or at least I thought I did. But closer inspection showed that it was a fake cheque from the Car Dealership of Canada. They had carefully mimicked the Government logo and style, but the content – or lack of content – was all their own.

There are two schools of marketing. One relies on sleight of hand and gimmicks (“You are guaranteed to win one of the prizes”), while the other relies on honesty, trust and relationship building. I endorse the second option.

Building a Tribe
Every week I buy soup or baked goods from Michelle (Wild Serendipity Foods) at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Her soups are consistently tasty with a bit of zing. So even when she introduces a new flavour – dill pickle, and I hate dill pickles! – I give it a try. And, surprise surprise, I’ve now added dill pickle soup to my list of favourites.

I just spent $80 on tea from Camellia Sinensis. That’s a lot of money for something I could buy much more cheaply at the supermarket. But they sell excellent tea, and their blog has introduced me to their farmers in India, China and Taiwan. They include a personal note of thanks with every purchase and are happy to answer email inquiries.

I’m a loyal customer. I provide regular repeat business, and I spread the word. That’s the value of honest marketing.


Stephanie V said...

Let's put dill pickle soup on the menu next time we're in Saskatoon. Sounds intriguing.

I agree that advertising gimmickry can not build a loyal customer base by itself. If however, you have a worthwhile product which is consistently excellent then you will also have loyal customers spreading the word. Sometimes, you just have to get them to try the dill pickle soup.

I agree that almost-fraud trickery is not a gimmick that would even get me to try the soup.

John B. said...

I used to do Seminars withstudents about Ethics in Marketing. It is quit simple. Marketing techniques may be used honestly and usefully or deceptively and dishinestly. It is a questioj of personal standards.

In this world calculated unscrupulousness makes money and often political success. It is always a temptation.

However I advise against petty dishonesty on the grounds of both morality and expediency. As I say aboutevading bus fares,every man has his price and mine os more than 75p.

Students of busines I felt had this regrettable feeling that they had sold their souls. I did my besttopoint out otherwise. I might have quoted, "Ehat shall itprofi a an if he gai the whole earth and lose his soul?"

It is all very well to buy the personall and organically produced products if you have money and time. Few in the world do. Tose who have these privileges should use them responsibly without being smug.

Jen said...

I got that same stupid letter! Boy was I mad when I opened it to see it was from a freakin' car dealership! I shredded that thing so fast it would make you head spin :o)