Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

I am sure that the huge success of emotional marketing is a contributing factor to the development and progression of consumer protection laws. It's that impulse buy, or the purchase made after focussed attention from a good sales person that tend to lead to later regret. It is that after-purchase regret that leads to complaints. If your customers feel unhappy about their purchase, for any reason, that is when you start to run into trouble.

buyers' remorse…

Think about it. Most of what you buy, you are happy with. Occasionally you might look at something and wonder why you ever bought it. And more occasionally, you might get something and it does not do what you expected it to and you are prompted to complain.

What you want is satisfied customers. You do not want your business coming the the negative attention of regulators, because once your business is on their radar, its hard to get it off again.

A common complaint that you want to avoid is that the advertising of your product was misleading or deceptive.

I once worked with a company that sold kitchenware – pots and pans. High end pots and pans. They kept getting in trouble with the regulators. One of the simpliest mistakes they made was to offer a free gift of a 16 piece Mikasa dinnerware setting with certain purchases. The dinnerware came in a Mikasa box, but when you looked at the back of the plates, it was clearly not Mikasa dinnerware. Fundamental mistake. They knew what they were lying to their customers in their advertising, but they thought that it would be ok because it was only a free gift and not something their customers paid for. Wrong. And once the regulators started to look into their business practices, they found lots to take issue with. 

Don't think that you can get away with lying about what is in a free gift just because it is free.

The Federal Trade Commission in the US has recently given Kellogs a slap on the wrist for the way it advertises breakfast cereals. Kellogs (and others) are no longer permitted to advertise the 'health' benefits of their products where they are clearly not true. So saying something contains your essential daily vitamins is not permitted where the presence of other ingredients means that the body has no chance of absorbing those vitamins and minerals from the cereal.

What do you say about your products?

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