As those of you who are my friends on Facebook already know, I’ve been working out intensively with a personal trainer since last August. I’ve definitely reorganized my life tremendously around exercise and physical activity- moving from a couple times a week (or less) exerciser to a six days a week exerciser, no excuses. It’s been a huge and wonderful change in my life.
On the days where I don’t have space in my schedule to go to the gym, I wake up really early and use my treadmill at home. Related to that, I’m sometimes up so early that the only thing to watch on TV are infomercials. Now, although infomercials can be kind of annoying, sometimes they are inspiring too. I mean, who knew you could have amazing hair even if you never washed it? That you could lose hundreds of pounds without changing your diet or exercise? That you could get so much flavor into a roasted chicken? 🙂
Whether or not the claims of these miracles are substantiated or not, I was struck today by three inherent lies in all of the marketing:
The second lie: That you are guaranteed results if you do something.
The third lie: That your results will be as good- or better- than anyone else’s.
I find these interesting because they highlight some core human desires, and speak to, at the same time, how we might choose to analyze our own decisions.
Let’s start with lie #1: That you can get results without doing anything differently.
Yes, of course, we’d all love to achieve our goals without having to change anything. But, really, if that were possible, wouldn’t we each already have the thing we most wanted? I mean, if it were truly possible to lose 100lbs. eating whatever you wanted, and without exercising, wouldn’t you already be 100lbs lighter? Presumably, the person in question has already been eating what they want, and likely not exercising- so why don’t they have the result they want, if no behavior change is required?
This lie feeds into our desire to have the success without making the effort.
Lie #2: That you are guaranteed results if you do something.
There is more to success than just sitting around and thinking good thoughts. There is also more to success than just doing something. Of course, there is place to try and test your ideas. I am starting to do this more in my business- testing out different offers and ideas and strategies just to see what works. Does everything work? Hell no. Does most of it work? Not usually. But does some of it work? Yes. Success leaves clues. But you have to, sometimes, try a lot of things and gather your own data to determine what will work for you and your business. So it’s a fallacy to think that taking some actions, without a plan or strategy, are guaranteed to get you where you want to go.
This lie feeds into our desire to have guarantees for our effort.
Lie #3: That your results will be as good- or better- than anyone else’s.
Now, of course, I always want my results to be as good or better. But I also know that this isn’t possible. There are some strategies and approaches which suit other people better than they suit me. If I tried to adopt these behaviors, I would likely not be able to carry them off as well- or have as good results- as other people. So the key with this is to adopt the best parts of the strategy for yourself, and feel free to adapt or adjust where you need to.
This lie feeds into our desire to be led down a path, rather than carving out one for ourselves.
As consumers, and not just business owners, we also want to be careful to assess any potential investments from these angles as well. Am I willing to do something differently? Am I willing to accept that my results might be different than other people’s? Am I willing to adapt the techniques and strategies to fit me best? And am I willing to keep showing up and doing my best, until I find the clues to my success?
These are important questions we want to pay attention to when we market- and when we are marketed to.