When it comes to marketing, there are many ways to advertise your product or service. But not all advertising is created equal. And while some marketers take an ethical approach to their craft, others will do anything to make fast money. Deceptive advertising is one of the most unethical and irresponsible marketing practices. Not only does it mislead and manipulate consumers, but it's a surefire way to lose customers and damage your reputation. So, what exactly is deceptive advertising? Deceptive advertising is any advertising that deliberately misleads or deceives consumers about a product or service. There are various ways that advertisers can be deceptive, from false claims to misleading images. And while some forms of deception may seem harmless, they can significantly impact consumers and the businesses they patronize. For marketers and advertisers alike, it's essential to be aware of how you can inadvertently mislead consumers. Beginning with one of the most deceptive times of the year, let's examine misleading advertising during Black Friday.
The Black Friday Deception
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is one of the year's busiest shopping days. And while it's excellent to snag deals on holiday gifts, many marketers use deceptive practices to lure shoppers into their stores. Here's some advice on how to spot and avoid Black Friday deception:
“Doorbuster Sales Offer the Best Deals”
While flipping through this year's Black Friday ads, you'll likely see a lot of "doorbuster" sales. These are sales on select items available for a limited time, typically when the store first opens. The problem is many of these doorbusters are terrible deals. Many deals throughout the year are better than "doorbuster" deals. To avoid lying to your consumers, don't advertise that your doorbusters are the year's best deals. If they are great deals, let shoppers know what makes them unique.
“Everything Goes Sale”
It's not uncommon to see stores advertising that "everything" is on sale during Black Friday. The problem is, if everything is on sale, then nothing is on sale. When everything in the store is discounted, it removes the urgency to buy specific items. After all, if your consumers wait a week or two, it's likely the item they want will still be on sale. Instead of advertising that everything is on sale, focus on advertising specific items or categories that are actually on sale. Shoppers will feel like they're getting a good deal on something specific instead of being bombarded with "discounts" everywhere.
To move inventory, deceptive marketers use scare tactics to convince shoppers that an item is available for a limited time. This encourages shoppers to buy things even if they don't need them. Instead of using scare tactics, be honest with your consumers about inventory levels or leave them off altogether. Your consumers will likely make fewer returns and be more satisfied with their purchases. If you must use discounts to move inventory, ensure that your consumers get a good deal.
It's common for businesses to try to upsell consumers by offering "add-ons" at the point of purchase. Add-ons can be helpful if they genuinely add value to the product. However, often, they're just a weak attempt to get consumers to spend more money. To build strong relationships with your consumers, be transparent about your pricing and don't try to hide add-on costs. If you're selling a product that doesn't need any additional items, be honest about it. Your consumers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to purchase from you again. When it comes to consumers, longevity is critical. At Wizard of Ads®, we believe that creating a connection is more important than just making a sale. Backed by honesty and integrity, your business can build and keep these mindful relationships for the long haul. If you're looking to create customer-centric advertising campaigns that will drive results, we can help. Book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® today to get started.
Deceptive Advertising List of Schemes
When it comes to deceptive advertising practices, businesses use a few common schemes to take advantage of consumers. Keeping yourself informed about these scams can help you avoid being exploited or using your customers for your own gain. Here are some of the most common deceptive advertising examples in marketing today.
If you think that deceptive marketing doesn't occur in the home services industry, you're mistaken. In fact, many businesses use deceptive advertising tactics to lure in customers and provide sub-par services. Some common examples of deceptive advertising in the home services industry include:
“0% Interest Promo”
This is a common tactic used by home service companies, especially during the holiday season. The company will offer 0 percent interest financing for a limited time, which may seem like a great deal. However, many consumers must realize that these deals are often more expensive. To avoid getting caught in this trap, get second opinions or pay in cash.
This is another common tactic used by home service companies. With a trade-in deal, the company will discount your new project if you trade in your old one. However, many consumers must realize that their old project is worth very little. So while you may think you're getting a great deal, you need to save that much money. To avoid being taken advantage of, research and get multiple opinions before taking any trade-in deals. Also, avoid any companies that pressure you into deciding on the spot.
“Limited time Offer”
Home service companies use this common sales tactic to get you to sign on the dotted line. Deals like these are only available for a limited time, so if you “don't act now, you'll miss out.” Do feel free to hold out for a better offer. However, in most cases, these deals are extended or reintroduced at a later date. So if you feel pressure to make a decision, take a step back and ask for some time to think about it.
Many home service companies will claim to offer significant savings if you sign up for their services. They'll often show you a comparison of their rates versus their competitors. However, it's important to remember that not all deals are created equal. For example, if a HVAC company claims to offer a $4000 discount, you may ask some questions. How much is the unit itself? Is the $4000 "discount" the savings, or is it just a marketing gimmick? What's the quality of the unit? If you are considering a home service company, make sure to do your research. Get multiple quotes and compare not only the price but also the quality of the services being offered. You deserve to get the best possible deal on your home services. Feel free to find a home service company that you can trust.
Aside from home services, there are some deceptive marketing strategies that businesses use to target consumers. Many businesses use deceptive marketing practices to target consumers looking for a specific result, such as weight loss. Some common examples of deceptive marketing include:
”Energy” in Soda/Drinks
Many energy drink companies use the word "energy" to suggest that their product will give you more energy. However, most of these drinks contain high sugar and caffeine levels, which can lead to a crash in energy levels. To make matters worse, some of these drinks also contain herbal stimulants that can have dangerous side effects. While deciding whether or not to buy an energy drink, be sure to read the label carefully. If the word “energy” is prominent on the packaging, the drink will likely contain high levels of sugar and caffeine.
As we strive for a more sustainable world, many companies claim that their products are “environmentally friendly.” But what does that mean? In most cases, it means that the product is made from recycled materials or is biodegradable. However, there is no strict definition of the term, so it can be used liberally. When you see a product advertised as “eco-friendly,” do your research to see if it is sustainable.
“Shoes that Burns Calories”
We’ve all seen the ads: shoes that claim to burn calories, tone your legs, and give you a workout. Sounds too good to be true, right? Unfortunately, it is. Many shoe companies have been sued for false advertising because their products don’t o these claims. So, if you’re looking for a workout shoe, stick to what you are comfortable with and do your research.
The word “organic” is thrown around often, but what does it mean the food is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers? Organic livestock must be given organic feed and cannot be given growth hormones or antibiotics. Organic products must meet these standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The problem is that “organic” has become a marketing tool. Many products that claim to be organic are not certified by the USDA. And even if they are certified, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better for you. So, how can you tell if a product is truly organic? Look for the USDA Organic seal. This seal guarantees the product meets USDA’s organic food standards. From there, you can also check the ingredients list. So how come so many businesses get away with deceptive marketing? The answer is, they don't. From lawsuits to consumer distrust, there are serious consequences for companies that falsely advertise their products. The bottom line is this: When it comes to your products or services, honesty creates consumer longevity. Deception might work in the short term, but it will always come back to bite you in the end. So play it safe and stick to the truth. Your customers will thank you for it. At Wizard of Ads®, we believe in being transparent with our clients and delivering results that exceed expectations. We don't make false promises - instead, we focus on doing great work that speaks for itself. If you're looking for an advertising partner you and your customers can trust, look no further than Wizard of Ads™. We would be honored to help you grow your business the right way. Book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® today to get started.