Why I love inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is kind of the opposite of Mad Men advertising

We were the Mad Men of the 80s and 90s. Kind of.

At a large ad agency where I worked in the early 90s, many of the copywriters and art directors would show up late each day. Then they’d spend an hour or so visiting, as if they hadn’t seen each other in months. Then they’d attend a “meeting” – to view directors’ reels with a production company sales rep bearing free pastries. Most attendees weren’t even working on TV projects.

After an hour of this vital work, many would go out for a Jamba Juice.

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One way to respond when your competitors lie to your customers

How do you respond to misleading information spread by your competitors? This video provides one simple example.

I like how they’re not angry or obnoxious (as I’d be tempted to be). They use a low-key approach with disarming good nature to nail the message. Sure, the presentation could be better, and I wish they could have taken Paramount Equity Mortgage to task more directly. But I give the two young mortgage brokers a lot a credit for standing up for themselves.

[By the way, here’s my post on the misleading advertising they refer to from Paramount Equity Mortgage. Here’s more information from the Washington Dept. of Financial Institutions.]

Does one video posted to YouTube solve the problem of  competitors who mislead the public? Of course not. Some people will always weigh the pros and cons of playing dirty. They’ll figure out how much they can get away with and go just that far. As social media continues to empower consumers and small competitors, the unscrupulous will look for new and creative ways to cheat. So while I applaud the video, there has to be more.

Imagine if every honest company, small and large alike, policed their own industry like Brandon and Cliff tried to do on their own. Imagine if an entire confederation of honest companies cooperated in showing customers how to recognize and deal with questionable sales tactics. Eventually, I think that will be rule, rather than the exception – and it will be a lot harder for the bad guys to win by cheating. I sure hope so.

Maybe I’m wrong. (I don’t think so!) What about you – do you think companies should respond when they find competitors lying to their customers? If so, how?

Note: from the looks of things, Revolution Financial seems to have gone out of business. But I have a feeling Brandon and Cliff will do well in the long run if they keep using the same instincts that led them to post that video.

Hayes Barnard, Paramount Equity Mortgage and advertising lies

Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity fined about $400,000 for violations

This is not a photo of Hayes Barnard of Paramount Equity Mortgage, who was fined $400,000

You’ll notice I didn’t write “Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Lie.” No, I parsed the language (quite cleverly, if I say so myself). It leads you to believe something a bit different than what’s actually written.

It’s kind of like the radio commercials of Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Mortgage. Continue reading

Don’t make your customers look like twits in the name of “creativity”

Maybe your small business can’t run an ad campaign during the Super Bowl. But you can take lessons from a couple of big brands that did – and in doing so, offended the environmental community, all of Brazil, a huge chunk of the black community and anyone who is sympathetic to the Dali Lama. Continue reading

If you’re going to make bad advertising, why not make it REALLY bad?

That’s a pretty cute headline I saw in the lobby at my local Bank of America the other day. “Buy Pizza, Get Dough.” Get it? Don’t worry, not many other people do, either.

Buy Pizza, Get Dough, from Bank of America

Tabletop poster with flier, at a Bank of America branch

It made me think of some less cute headlines that have been in the news lately:

Is it too much to ask BofA to be less jovial about their schemes to stockpile more of our money — especially when they’re back-dooring fee increases on things like safe-deposit boxes and giving Merrill Lynch executives huge bonuses?

A few BofA headlines I’d like to see… Continue reading