Well, Honestly!

Truth in marketing spins in a new direction.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Spam blockers and do-not-call lists are a challenge for marketers who want to contact customers, while consumer backlash against commercially buzzed or intrusively marketed offerings makes it difficult to gain customers' trust once you do reach them. In Truth (Amazon.com, $24.95), marketing consultant Lynn Upshaw shows how integrity-based marketing can overcome these obstacles and win new customers.

If you're the sort of entrepreneur who considers a marketing claim or strategy acceptable once it passes your attorney's critique, you'll need to ramp up your standards to satisfy Upshaw. Stretching the truth legally doesn't pass muster. He doesn't even like so-called "weasel words"--like saying a food is "virtually fat-free"--that some marketers use to exaggerate claims or minimize weaknesses of products and services.

Marketing with integrity, Upshaw says, requires recruiting everyone in the company to adhere to a high level of truth and honesty in all customer interactions. He also prescribes a comprehensive approach to measuring your investment and return on integrity-based marketing. Apparently, virtuous marketing doesn't come easy. But, as the numerous anecdotes and studies he quotes illustrate, relying on truth in your marketing can pay you back richly with greater customer loyalty, lower costs and other benefits. Virtue, it seems, is not the only reward when it comes to marketing.

No is the New Yes
Many negotiation systems have yes as their Holy Grail. Not Jim Camp's. In No (Crown Business, $23), the veteran negotiation coach makes the claim that no is the most useful and valuable tool in negotiation. In fact, he declares, all negotiations start with a no in them somewhere. That's far from all bad, however. Camp shows how a polite, tactful negative can help us avoid making hasty decisions and unwarranted compromises while freeing up our counterparts on the other side of the negotiating table to issue their own nos and, paradoxically, perhaps increasing everyone's chances of arriving at yes in the end.

Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Staff Smarts" columnist.

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