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positioningResponsible Marketing

Marketing puffery never pays

By January 14, 2010November 14th, 20223 Comments

Seems we’ve been up to our eyeballs in positioning and message strategy work at Outsource Marketing lately. Of course, positioning should be the cornerstone of all your marketing communications—without meaningful differentiation, you’ve got nothin’, after all.

But your positioning has to be more than simply unique and matter to your prospects. It has to be true, too.

With that in mind, watch this:

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If you are selling “the world’s toughest phone” that’s “virtually unbreakable,” perhaps it should be.

While Sonim XP1 CEO Bob Plaschke handled this with an amazing amount of grace, the fact is it would appear to some that this is nothing more than another hollow marketing claim.

Persuasion, good.
Puffery, bad.

Not just because you might get caught. It’s because it doesn’t respect the people that ultimately pay the bills—your customers.

Is Sonim guilty of the age-old marketer’s practice of marketing puffery? Considering their “unbreakable” phone broke, does it really matter?

What do you think?

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • To be fair, this phone seems amazingly resilient under normal use. I cannot imagine any phone, designed with reasonable functionality, that wouldn’t break if you intentionally bashed the screen against a hard protrusion. Are you sure your not engaging in critical puffery here?

  • I agree that the phone appears to be significantly more rugged than other phones on the market. But saying something is “virtually unbreakable” and then seeing it break so easily…well, that’s overstating reality…and IS by definition puffery.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like their positioning. But perhaps they could have taken an iPhone, a Blackberry and a number of other popular phones and done some form of stress test. Then they could say “the world’s most rugged phone” without making a bloated claim.

  • I’m not sure why anyone would advertise their product as “virtually unbreakableā€ in any industry. I agree with Patrick that testing your product against the competition showing it is tougher makes sense, but if you tell me something is indestructible, I’m going to find a way to prove you wrong. I’ve broken so many tools, phones, gadgets and other items that I would buy a phone advertised as tougher than the others, but never tell someone you can’t break something. Everything breaks, especially when you challenge someone to do it.

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