Great Marketing is Like Great Makeup
It Makes the Best More Visible
There’s always an ongoing discussion about the veracity of marketing. Is it putting something over on someone? The answer is quite simply “no.” Marketing is not a mask. It is not about putting on a different face, or hiding whom you truly are to a customer. It is, however, putting your best face forward, and that can involve putting on makeup.
Makeup, as most women will tell you, is a good thing. In my mother’s time it was sometimes called “putting your face on.” In my time, it’s simply enhancing existing features in hopes of looking as good as possible. It helps me present myself to the world and feel more confident about who I am. Makeup brings out my best features. It doesn’t transform me into a different person. It doesn’t completely hide my flaws, but it does minimize them .
Here’s how it works if done well. I have blue eyes. With makeup, they appear bigger and bluer. A company has a product or service. With marketing, its offerings can be made more easily visible and less hidden to its desired audience. Marketing, like makeup, should not be used to mask whom you are. It should be used to enhance what’s already good.
Marketing is not about putting lipstick on a pig. It is about honestly assessing strengths and weaknesses, highlighting the strengths, and working on the weaknesses. A key component of marketing should always be to let a company know when it is not living up to its full potential or promise, but it is not to pull the wool over a patron’s eyes. If there are flaws in an offering, they should not be hidden but addressed.
For some women perceived flaw removal can go to an extreme with too much plastic surgery. That is frequently based on an inherent lack of self-confidence in the core product. For some companies, bad marketing is the same. Flaws simply provide an attempt to improve.
Let’s take a tip from makeup maven Bobbi Brown. Her cosmetic line is based on making a woman look beautiful by looking natural not made up. Her blog is self-described as “A blog based on truth, beauty and being truly amazing.” That seems as apt a goal for any marketing campaign as I can imagine. Marketing should be based on truth, beautiful branding and being truly amazing.
The Take-Away: If a marketing department is asked to hide a product flaw, run away. Marketing should only happen when a company has something good to offer, and marketing can be used to draw attention to it. Marketing should never be used as mask to hide the core product underneath. That’s a recipe for disaster.