It’s really an important question because every one of us are placed in daily situations where we need to sift the buying decisions thrown in our faces into separate piles labeled “Hype” and “Fact.”
Well, our decisions really aren’t that simple.
We probably also have piles of offers and advertising we’ve labeled “Maybe,” “Not today,” “When I have the money,” and “I know my spouse will kill me, but…”
There two problems with “hype.”
The first is . . . no one has a universally accepted definition of what it is. I thought “hype” was short for hyperbole.
Here’s its definition:
hyperbole: “A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in ‘I could sleep for a year’ or ‘This book weighs a ton.'”
But I looked up the word “hype” in the dictionary and it seems the word is actually an abbreviation or slang for “hypodermic.” Here’s its definition:
“A hypodermic injection, syringe, or needle. A drug addict.”
OK, either definition could be used depending upon the situation and context of the word “hype.”
You see the problem?
The second problem with hype is this . . . two people will consider the same exact message differently – one will think it’s hype, the other won’t.
How exaggerated does a marketing message have to be to be considered hype?
Is hype a bad thing?
Is hype in product marketing considered fraud or lying if it isn’t true?
Is hype to be expected and accepted as “just part of the advertising game?”
What do you think?
Some marketers will tell you that they can’t sell products without adding a certain amount of hype.
They say that most products, by themselves, have a pretty boring and uninteresting story.
But when drama, and excitement, and emotionally charged words are added, the boring becomes interesting and attention-grabbing.
How do you recognize hype?
To me, the answer lies within each individual.
You set your own definition. You develop your own standard.
You raise or lower the bar of what amount or kind of hype you will accept.
Some businesses are built on hype and yet still thrive, at least for a time.
I’m thinking of the fad diets that promise highly exaggerated weight loss in ridiculously short time frames, or the get-rich-quick schemes that proliferate on the Internet but never deliver the results touted.
Some businesses try to promote themselves by claiming they are anti-hype; they hate hype and promise to avoid it at all costs.
They are the “No B.S.” and “Tell it like it is” businesses. But can you tell if “no B.S.” is really in itself? I wonder.
I have come to adopt the following standard regarding hype that you may want to consider using in your marketing:
– Try to make your message exciting and emotionally appealing, but always truthful and above board.
– Some messages are black and white – that is OK – the message can still be presented in an interesting way.
– Never exaggerate, lie about, or distort hard facts or numbers – they’re either true or they’re not.
– Words like great, fabulous, wonderful, and fantastic are OK, but they are also vague, overused, and don’t mean much.
– Never claim or even suggest the exception to be the rule. While it could be true, chances are it won’t happen for the buyer. If your product works as advertised one time in ten, don’t say, “it gives this kind of result” and then offer the lone exception as proof of your claim.
– Even a worthless broken clock is right twice every day!
– Every message that claims an absolute is suspect and should be discounted. How often have you heard a business make statements like “We will not be undersold!” How can such a claim ever be proven? “We have the lowest prices in town!” “We are number one in auto sales!” “You will not be disappointed!” “Our service is second to none!”
These absolute claims are typically made without the company actually researching and verifying the claims.
Did they really check every single price in town to make sure theirs was the lowest?
And even if it was the lowest last week, does that mean it’s still the lowest today?
You see, this type of absolute claim is simply conjecture or speculation (which I consider to be hype) unless the company can prove or verify the facts – then, now, and in the future.
I would submit that if your company marketing is based on hype – if that’s the foundation of your sales message – you customers will sooner or later see your messages for what they are: exaggerated and overblown claims not based in fact or reality!
Prospects buy from people they trust. If your business marketing is based on hype, it will be hard to garner trust.
To your online business success,