Blagging simply means ‘exaggerating’ your positive traits in order to get to where you want to be. We’ve all heard expressions like ‘fake it until you make it’ and act like the job you want. But just how true is this when you take the concept and expand it to apply to your marketing campaign? Just how liberal can you be with the truth?
Sometimes it pays to bend the truth a little. While lying is generally frowned upon, even the most honest marketer is sometimes going to find themselves becoming a little… creative with the facts.
It simply doesn’t pay to be 100% truthful and especially when the competition is probably exaggerating too. But how far is too far? And what are the potential repercussions of crossing that line?
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Almost every marketing message is going to include a certain element of hyperbole. This simply means using adjectives that make something sound more incredible than perhaps it really is. It means talking in extremes by saying something is the best example of X that there ever was. The FIRST of its kind. The most original, unique or the best value.
This is what nearly every marketer does and it is something that you will also have to do if you want to be successful.
The reality is that while most people see through this to some extent, it is still a powerful and important tool for getting your audience to buy into what you’re selling and without it, your product or service will sound less exciting.
This comes down to precisely why we buy the things we do in the first place. We make purchases based on emotion. We buy products because we think that they’re going to give us something we can’t get anywhere else: an experience or a change in the way we live.
Thus we buy based on emotion. We need to buy into the marketing message and really believe it and we need to get swept up in what we think is possible. We want to be told that the book we’re going to read will change our life. If we don’t read that, then we won’t visualize the possibilities and we won’t be moved to click ‘buy’.
Likewise, we want to be told that the object we’re about to buy is made of high precision aircraft grade polymers.
So where is the line?
Well, first of all, you need to make sure that you don’t overpromise. Don’t promise something that you can’t deliver on, as otherwise you’ll end up disappointing your audience and thereby receiving complaints or requests for refunds. All this will hurt your reputation which is why you should sometimes try to underpromise and overdeliver and thereby pleasantly surprise your audience.
Finally, while it’s possible to bend data, you should always be careful about outright lying. Ultimately this can also lose trust. Just take a look at all the times that companies like Microsoft have told us about the ‘screen on time’ of their devices. Something which no savvy consumer places any trust in anymore.