Why Marketing Hype Doesn’t Work

Proud Man Pointing at Himself

I detest marketing hype.

And usually it’s pretty easy to spot. The exaggerated promises. The over-the-top delivery. The… well, hype! When I encounter it, I cringe. And I run away, fast. Because I believe if you have to hype something that much, there’s probably a reason for it. If the product or service can’t stand on its own and needs all those superlatives to get you to buy, maybe it’s not worth buying in the first place.

But sometimes the hype isn’t so obvious.

Case in point.

I bought a book recently that was hyped as one of the best books of the summer. Now, normally I buy books based on personal recommendations, or after I’ve read a sample chapter. Rarely do I buy books based on publicity. But this time I did. After seeing this book featured in the media on several recommended summer reading lists, I was sold.

To be fair the book started off OK.

But it very soon lost my interest. Now, I read a lot of books. And I’m not that picky. If it holds my interest and entertains me, I’m usually good with it. And I usually breeze through them in a few days to a few weeks max. That definitely did not happen with this highly publicized novel.

Two months after buying this book I was still trying to finish it.

I didn’t care about the characters or what was going to happen next. In fact, it wasn’t until I finished 70% of the book that I finally started to care… and finally wanted to find out how it was going to end. I’m sure many people would have given up on the book long before that point. But I really was waiting to see what all the hype was about.

The truth is the author probably just had a great publicist.

A publicist who over-sold the book.

I bought into it. And the book didn’t live up to all the hype. By the way, it wasn’t just me. There are plenty of reviews on Amazon that agree.

Let’s suppose I learned about this book without all the hype.

Maybe it was recommended by a friend. Or, recommended by Amazon based on other books I’ve read. Or, perhaps even via a book review, or a simple write up. But NOT as one of the best books of the summer.

And I chose to buy it, and then didn’t really like it.

I would be disappointed, but I wouldn’t feel duped.

I know this because I don’t love every book I read. It’s inevitable when you read as many books as I do.

The difference is with this hyped book, my expectations were set so high by all the publicity, that when the book didn’t measure up, I was much more disappointed.

And that’s exactly why marketing hype doesn’t work.

If you build up your prospect’s expectations that high, you better deliver. In fact you better over-deliver. And if you don’t, watch out for the backlash.

Not living up to your own marketing hype also diminishes your brand, because your clients no longer trust you. I can tell you I won’t be buying another of this author’s books. And her other books may be much better. But I’ve already been burned.

If you want your customers and clients to respect you, respect them, by not over-promising in your marketing. Create a great product or service. Tell people what it can reasonably do for them. And trust that the people who connect and resonate with that message will buy.

Trying to generate a lot of immediate sales with inflated marketing may fill your bank account in the short term, but it won’t support your business in the long run.


About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

1 comment on “Why Marketing Hype Doesn’t Work

  1. Pingback: Avoiding Hype in Your Art Marketing: Why and How « Art Biz Blog

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