Good Marketing is Not Sleazy or Manipulative

Authentic Marketing | Christie | No Comments |

How do you feel when you see manipulative marketing? There is a better way.



How do you interpret the scene above? Is it:

a) Gullible little cupcake people lining up for something they don’t need?

b) Happy customers lining up for something they really want from an awesome balloon supplier?

From my perspective, as a marketing consultant and coach for more than 20 years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to marketing.

Not all marketing strategies are created equal.

To me, the best marketing makes a natural connection between what the consumer desires and what the business delivers.

It’s not forced or manipulative. It’s smart and beautifully put together.

How does the word “marketing” make you feel?

So many business owners I chat to say they feel sick to the stomach just thinking about “doing marketing”.

Is this you?

Do you recall where this stems from? Did you have a really bad experience with being manipulated by some sleazy sales campaign? Are you over the screaming salesman and the bright red flashing lights?

Please trust me, there is a better way. It’s called “serving, not selling”.

“Smart, authentic marketing is not manipulative – it’s respectful and in tune with
what your clients value.”

How do you do good marketing?

With a little bit of thought and reflection, you can create marketing that serves your clients and most importantly respects their ability to make a decision.

Great marketing connects a person to a product or service that they truly desire. Something that makes their life easier or better in some way.

Please don’t try to manipulate others with lines like:


They’re really scammy sounding, kind of like those carpet advertisements:

“We’re going out of business, everything must go!”

You know the ones that have been on TV for 10 years now!

Please don’t threaten people or make them feel like losers for not choosing your product. Stay classy, for the love of Seth Godin the God of good marketing advice.

Begin by thinking, not doing

Start by thinking carefully about what your clients’ pain-points are.

What frustrates them?

What gets in their way of having a joyful life?

How can your business help them?

Write it all down or better still, brainstorm with someone, anyone – even the cat or that plant in the corner!


Can you see how it’s so much easier to figure out how to help someone by stepping through this process?

Start with who they are, and then ask what their pain or frustration is.

This leads you to some pretty logical solutions. Easy, yes? Well OK – easier. It does take practice, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time, just don’t over-think.

The “help-a-friend” principle

Figuring out how to help your clients starts with asking questions.

Kind of like asking a friend, “Are you cold?” When you know that she’s cold, you can offer her solutions:

  • Bed socks,
  • Hot water bottle,
  • Hot chocolate,
  • A heater,
  • A cashmere sweater,
  • A hug!

So many options for helping!

How does this apply to your business?

Apply the same approach to your business. What do you take for granted that your clients would be so grateful to receive?

How could you share your knowledge and connections in your industry to create something of value for your client?

Often it’s the really simple things that can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive gesture. Think small, nimble and from the heart.

“Keep it simple. Just keep asking; “What would my clients love? What would
make them smile and know that they are valued?”

How does it feel to serve instead of sell?

Taking it one step further, how about if I already know that my friend loves hot chocolate and, seeing her shivering, I just went and made her one?

Of course, with 80 per cent cocoa melts and delivered with a comfy, warm blanket?

She’d be pretty happy, right?

And if you were the giver of the blanket and hot chocolate – how would you feel?

You’d feel pretty good too, wouldn’t you? 

Simply because you were helpful and you made someone else smile.

Sure your friend could have done this for herself, but that’s not nearly as wonderful as when someone does it for you, now is it?

Brainstorm ways to serve your clients and customers

So how could you bring some joy into the lives of your clients or future clients? What would be really fun to create for them, that you would also love to give them?

And again, remember to keep it simple. As the classic advertisement by Kellog’s Cornflakes would say “The simple things in life are often the best”. Love that line – so true!

Ask questions in the comments

If you would like some suggestions on what to create for your business, ask away in the comments. Challenge yourself to come up with a couple as well and I’ll chime in.

Share your success stories

If you’ve already started producing great things for your clients that bring a smile to their faces, let us know in the comments below. It’s really helpful for others to know what’s working.

Authentic Marketing
Growth Strategy
Chris is a performance coach and mentor to emerging businesses. She is passionate about helping people grow their businesses using smart strategies, which play to their strengths.

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