Interestingly enough, shortly after my last post, I had a conversation with a friend in which she vented her frustration about a product she purchased online.
After 10 years of marriage, my friend’s husband decided to "trade in" my friend on a "newer" model, leaving her to navigate the ever treacherous waters of the "dating scene". Newly single, she like many other Gen Y members turned to the internet for advice. During this search, she came across an information product web site.
The marketing behind this information product was SUBERBLY crafted. The product developers showed incredible insight on crafting a compelling message. They understood that no one was going to show up on their web site and fork over $500 for their info product on the first visit, so they offered a tempting free bribe in exchange for signing up for their newsletter.
According to my friend, the ensuing monthly mailers were exquisitely crafted to create a compelling pitch for the product. Dan Theis does a WONDERFUL job of outlining this strategy in his post :
How Internet Marketers Use "Straw Man" Logic To Sell Products
The way they [internet marketing gurus] convince you to buy the product they’re pushing involves a lot of "straw man" arguments. Let me walk you through the basic template they’re using here:
- If you have failed at (SEO, marketing, business, life) it’s not your fault.
- You’re not failing because you didn’t actually put in the time and effort to do things right
- No, it’s not your fault, it’s all those evil "gurus" who aren’t telling you the whole truth!
- As an example, watch us construct a straw man and knock it down
- See, we’re smart, and we’re trying to help you.
- Open your wallet now.
Well, on one particular day, an email landed in my friend’s inbox from this internet marketing, uh I mean DATING guru. In this edition, he happened to hit upon a scenario that my friend was currently experiencing. It was as if he’d been spying upon her or was in some way psychic. In this email he wrote that after a honeymoon period, the man in the relationship would pull back and stop calling. According to the email, his information product would not only tell you WHY your man is doing that, but WHAT you MUST do to save the relationship.
As you can guess, my friend had NO TROUBLE finding her credit card and purchasing the product. After all, she was going to find out EXACTLY what to do to save her faltering relationship!
The DVD’s arrived in short order and my friend consumed the series in short order.
IMAGINE HER FURY to discover that while the series did indeed explain WHY her gentleman friend had pulled away, it failed to direct her in what she needed to do to salvage the relationship!
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
Not only was my friend venting to me, she was venting to EVERY SINGLE WOMAN SHE KNOWS!
Ouch! My advertising mentor taught me long ago that a happy customer will tell 3 friends… and a disgruntled one will tell 12. Recent research puts the second figure at closer to 16. My friend is on track to beat that estimate. She is now a woman on a mission. She’s not only telling every one she knows, but she’s also spending time online warning others.
She’s also taking advantage of the site’s "30 day money back guarantee"….. and is fully prepared to contact the state’s attorney general if they fail to refund her money as promised.
By promising something he had no intention of delivering, he’s not only going to get to refund her the $497 she paid, he’s also going to have to battle the bad PR my friend is so intent on delivering. All because he over promised and under delivered.
That’s one of the perils of tightly targeting a niche market. If you fail to deliver what you promise, your customers usually spread the word quickly to destroy you.