Consumers today are better informed about the products or services they’re purchasing than at any other time in history.
But it’s not because of marketers.
In addition to researching on Google, peer-to-peer review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp have quickly become the most effective way for consumers to learn about business products and services. But why is that?
I believe it’s because over the years marketers have lost the trust of consumers. And why wouldn’t they? From misleading cigarette ads to products that claim to prevent the common cold or boost your immune system – all of which have proven false – consumers have been inundated with reasons to distrust marketing messages. Our brains even have even developed a spam filter.
It’s time we as marketers gained that trust back.
In order to do that I believe that we as marketers need to start creating marketing content that informs consumers about our products and services while providing them with honest, accurate and informative information that assists them with their purchasing decision.
So in an effort to help any fellow marketing colleagues that share my point of view, I wanted to highlight two examples that our team at Rasmussen College has produced together.
I feel that these pieces of marketing demonstrate exactly how marketers can present consumers with marketing assets that are creative, credible and trustworthy.
Example 1: Choosing a College eBook
The college designed this eBook to help consumers – potential college students – consider the major factors that go into choosing a college. By highlighting the types of colleges and what makes them different, such as accreditation, modality or cost, consumers are better able to decide which institution is right for them.
Many marketing organizations focus solely on promoting the benefits of their own products or services in fear that by highlighting the industry as a whole, they are promoting their competitors. But as marketers, it’s important to remember that any message designed to help consumers make an informed decision is a good thing.
Imagine if the eBook had only highlighted the benefits of Rasmussen offerings. That certainly wouldn’t help the college gain trust from its target market or credibility from its competitors.
If marketers can show consumers that we are here to assist them along their path of fulfilling a need and improving their lives then we can start to gain back their trust.
Example 2: What Career Should I Choose?
In this example the college used job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create an interactive chart to help career seekers learn about all of the different career fields they may want to consider or compare. By organizing this data in a way that allows potential students to learn about various careers, salaries, employment trends and education requirements, they will be able to avoid the roadblocks and challenges of pursing the necessary level of education.
Now it would have been easy for the college to simply highlight the careers in which they offer degree programs, but that is not how you build trust or help improve people’s lives. But by presenting this information in a comprehensive way using statistics from an authoritative third-party source such as the BLS, the college can begin to gain the trust of prospective students that may be interested in their program offerings.
As marketers it’s our job to educate potential customers about our products or services. If we skip this step and immediately go into our sales pitches not only are consumers typically not ready to make a purchase decision, but they also feel pressured into making a quick decision and start to question whether or not they can trust us.
What to remember
It’s important for all marketers to accept the fact that not everyone within your target audience will be the right fit for your products or services.
The first step is to always keep consumers’ best interest in mind while educating them about their options. Then, by highlighting our offerings responsibly, ethically and honestly, marketers can begin to gain back the trust of consumers.
What other examples of marketing do you feel are honest and transparent that benefit consumers? Share them in the comments below.
This is a guest post written by Grant Tilus.
Grant Tilus is an Inbound Marketer at Rasmussen College where it’s his job to write educational content that highlights the benefits of earning a marketing degree as a way to help individuals learn how they can pursue the career they have always wanted. You can connect with Grant on Twitter or Google+.