Is there such thing as bad marketing?
I’m in beautiful Denver for GCUC. It’s lovely this time of year. The weather is warm and the air is fresh.
I was hungry for dinner, so I took a walk to find a restaurant nearby.
I headed down 16th–which is the main strip–and there were plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Then I saw this guy spinning a sign around, directing people to a pho restaurant nearby.
On the one hand, I suddenly became aware of and had a craving for pho. I love good pho.
But I didn’t go. I hesitated.
For some reason, the sign spinning guy made me less likely to want to go to that restaurant.
Subconsciously, I asked myself, ‘If they hire a guy to spin a sign around, what does that say about the restaurant’?
Now, I’m sure it’s good pho and the restaurant is perfectly professional.
The rent is expensive in that area, after all, and they are probably targeting tourists. It likely even brings in some customers.
But I didn’t feel confident about it. In fact, I had less confidence in the quality of that restaurant than I would if I saw it naturally.
It reminded me that not all marketing is good marketing. Not all awareness is good awareness.
Bad marketing may draw the attention of suitable people to your business, but if it loses trust in the process, what does it matter?
It’s important to market your business as rigorously as you can–even if some of your activities are imperfect. Perfection is the enemy of done, after all.
But the lens through which I look at marketing decisions is always the same: does this activity increase or decrease people’s trust in my business?
It doesn’t matter how many people know about you if they don’t trust you.
You can lose trust with slapdash, desperate marketing efforts.
But if you optimize for trust, you’ll be in good shape.
Yes, it takes more time and effort, but it pays off.
P.S. The day after writing this article I got food poisoning from another restaurant. They didn’t have a spinny sign. I guess I should have tried the Pho.