I’m so fed up with unethical marketing.
A few days ago, I signed up for someone’s email list. This person has been sending me emails, including about a course that I’m actually interested in taking at some near point.
Now, from one moment to the next, her emails turned to
“sign up now”
“special bonuses expiring tonight at midnight”
“only x hours left”
Which is fine, right? Of course, it’s okay to have a deadline for enrollment. Of course, it’s fine to have an early bird special.
I’ve used both of these for my recent course.
I click on the link and there’s a countdown timer on the website.
But I’m also a bit suspicious because there’s nothing else indicating that there’s actually a hard enrollment deadline for the course (and not just an attempt to manipulate me into buying something I don’t want by appealing to people’s Fear of Missing Out.)
So, I open the same website from another browser.
Et voilà, no countdown timer! ?
(Which basically means that I could sign up for this person’s email list anytime and get the *super-special, today only* bonuses.)
Curiously enough, I signed up for another email list and somehow, this person also magically had enrollment closing a day or so after I signed up to the list.
Applying unnecessary pressure when there’s no actual deadline is a form of unethical marketing
This actually makes me less likely to take their courses. I think business can be a force for good (or should be). Integrity is so important for me. When people use manipulative marketing tactics, I just don’t buy it (pun intended).
I get that scarcity marketing works. But many things work that are ethically dubious. It doesn’t mean we need to embrace them.
For instance, here are a few people and business who market in completely ethical ways:
I have personal experience with them and think they’re awesome. No manipulation required.
It feels good to not be manipulated. It feels good to take my power back. It feels good to make my own choices.
FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) comes from a feeling of scarcity.
JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out) comes from a feeling of abundance.
At least for today, I’ll embrace the latter.
And I really hope that more and more people will become aware of these scarcity-based tactics so that they stop working. Bye-bye unethical marketing.
What’s a form of manipulative marketing you can’t stand?
Who are some people/businesses you know that don’t use manipulative marketing?
If you’re a business owner, what do you do to market ethically?
I think our collective story of leadership is broken and that it's up to us to redefine it. I believe in a world where good people are empowered to make a positive difference and I believe that we're the ones we've been waiting for.
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