Why You Should Stop Unintentionally Unethical Marketing (Rorschach Marketing)

Hi, this is Clay. And welcome to this episode of the Marketing Show. Today we’re going to be talking about a mistake that I see a lot of people making that unintentionally is rendering some of their marketing somewhat dishonest. So I want to talk about that. I also believe that this mistake that they’re making is also hurting their marketing and hurting sales.

So rather than beating around the bush, let’s just get straight to the situation. I’m going to be reading off the board here for a little bit and just bear with me.

So let’s say we have Sue, okay? Sue is a financial coach and she helps people reach their financial goals. So on the description of what she does on her website she says, “I help people reach their financial goals.” Now, let’s say Bob comes to her website. And Bob wants to make 1 million within the next six months. Can Sue say, truly, can she come out and say, “I help people make $1 million in the next six months.” Can she say this? If the answer is no, then Sue should not be saying that she helps people reach their financial goals.

Because what people do inevitably is they insert their own financial goals in this word here. When you tell people you help them reach their goals or you leave any of your marketing up for interpretation, people will project their own intents and wishes on it. And, usually, when you’re vague like this, right, when you don’t specify exactly what you do, you are hoping that people will project their wants and their goals onto your marketing because you don’t know exactly what the value is that you provide yet. You haven’t gotten really specific yet about what you do.

I think this is something where if Sue cannot say that she helps people make $1 million in six months, if she honestly couldn’t say that, then she should not be saying that she helps people reach their financial goals, because people have financial goals that are all over the map.

But let’s get a little bit more specific here. Let’s say Ron is a personal coach. And Ron helps people to make six figures doing what they love, okay. This whole doing-what-they-love piece is open to interpretation, right? Let’s say Jane reads this. Jane loves gardening. Can Ron say, “I help people make six figures gardening?” If Ron cannot say that, then he should not be saying that he helps people make six figures doing what they love, because his marketing doesn’t apply to Jane. And if he is specifically engineering his marketing to encourage other people to project their own wants onto his marketing and to read themselves into his marketing, then he is being misleading.

Now, if you’re doing this, I’m not calling you a liar. This isn’t something that’s illegal. This isn’t something where you’re somehow breaking FTC regulations, but I want you to think about this long and hard. But let’s for a second put ethics aside; I one hundred percent believe in being as ethical as possible and being as conscious about how we market as possible. But let’s just put this aside. Because I’m here to tell you that Rorschach Marketing or marketing where you are encouraging other people to project their own wants and desires on to your generic marketing message, which is what I call a Rorschach Marketing, is ineffective; it really is. It’s somewhat effective, but not very.

And there’s two reasons for this. The first reason is that Rorschach Marketing usually stems from lack of confidence. When people don’t know exactly how they can help people, when they can’t get specific about the value they provide, most people get very general about their marketing. You see this all the time. Life coaches especially say, “I help people attain their goals,” you know. And people and life-coaches who say things like that with the exception of people who have been around for, you know, decades like Tony Robbins- but people who make very general statements like that about what they do tend to do very poorly.

In fact, if you have a statement like this about what you do, chances are, you aren’t making a healthy living online; chances are you aren’t even making like 40 grand online at this point. So it’s usually lack of confidence that encourages people to practice what I call Rorschach Marketing. And unconfident marketing is usually bad marketing, because you usually can’t…

…fight for your message because you usually can’t grab people with your marketing and show them exactly the value that you provide. And that handicaps you.

The second reason why Rorschach Marketing is poor marketing and somewhat ineffective marketing is that non-specific marketing almost always fails. Now, if you’re a company like Coca-Cola where you have a product that could potentially be consumed by every living human on earth, then maybe there’s an exception for you if you started, you know, 60 years ago. But right now, in the present, non-specific marketing fails. You need to get crystal clear about the value that you provide.

So I would highly encourage you to stop practicing Rorschach Marketing. That’s just an R because I have no idea how to spell Rorschach off the top of my head. But I would highly encourage you to stop vague marketing, because it’s hurting you, because it’s hurting your client who’s projecting their own intentions on your marketing even though you might not be able to fulfill them and it’s ultimately hurting your business long term.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments. Thank you so much for watching today’s marketing show and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care.