What is better than the latest must have digital or technological craze that everyone is going nuts for; it’s new, better, easier, quicker… and it’s all yours just for just…
Snake oil is an expression that originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with a questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, a snake oil salesperson is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is a fraud, charlatan, and the like.
And in the consistently evolving world of digital, technology and marketing industry people love selling snake oil like there’s no tomorrow. If you haven’t got ‘X’ your brand is missing out (substitute X for any of the must have trends – Chat Bots, Voice Search, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality).
That’s not to say that all these things are fraudulent or offer no benefit but buyers beware, just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s good or appropriate. ‘New’ offers endless possibilities, get that mixed with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and it’s a potent mix to help to alleviate unsuspecting clients of their cash. The horror stories are very real – we have heard of organisations investing in high-end artificially intelligent chatbots, only to find they’re powered by a group of low paid people working out of an office replying on a messenger app.
This isn’t a new thing, since the age of salespeople pushing their equivalent to snake oil, curing all your ills with the latest fad has been flourishing for 100’s of years. So if you’re a person who’s intrigued by the latest marketing, technological or digital gizmo but not sure if it’s worth your investment how do you know if it’s real or too good to be true?
You can read our 5 simple tips and download our digital transformation brochure to help you avoid the trap:
1: How shiny is their overall presentation
We know not to judge a book by its cover but sometimes it’s hard to resist the beautiful, high-tech presentation that’s done for you, of course all this must be the same experience your customers or clients will get.
The shinier and the more polished the video, the more noise they make on social media and events they run, you have to think how many salespeople do they have and how do they really have the time to look after their clients?
Stop and take a moment to consider the actual content and strip away the jargon; How much depth is there?
2: Falling for the stats
Did you know that 89% of all quoted stats are made up on the spot? 8 out of 10 cats do. Someone somewhere will have a stat they can wangle to support their agenda.
For example, by 2020 50% of all search will be voice search! Really? We can’t see as far into the future as some others propose to but be very careful with the power of stats, and how they are applied. Use your internal BS radar to tell if you that stat seems all too good to be true, as if does it normally is. Pick at the stats, consider them and apply a logic check.
Darrell Huff’s ‘How to Lie with Statistics’ prove that such practice is no secret. People are aware that they are the object of statistical manipulation; it is the elephant in the room.
• How many proof points are there of those that have succeeded?
• Can you speak to those that have had real success using that thing?
• What is the actual use cases for it?
3: Do your research
If you feel that a new thing can really help then look at your options and do your research.
• Look at their case studies.
• Talk to current clients.
• Read their reviews.
• Does the way they put themselves across sit with you?
• Do they have documented results similar to the ones you want?
4: Think about the customer it’s looking to help
Today, every business is a digital business in one way or another. But how does someone embrace new technology and realise its potential? Ask yourself – how will this new thing help us engage customers or interact with them in a way that’s tangibly better?
• Understand customer context?
• Look at the customer journeys and hotspots – Help you identify the best technology to use
• Can you apply technology to your existing journeys?
5: Ask more questions
• What process will you use to accomplish our goals, and why do you use that process?
• What do you do when things aren’t working?
• Can you show me examples?
• What metrics do you report on?
• What level of control will we have?
• Can you scale these results as my business grows?
• What experience do you have working with my industry?
• Have you ever had a client with my exact problems?
• Who will be managing my account and who will be executing the work?
• What will the first 90 days of work include?
• Can you customise my services for what I need most?
• How do you go above and beyond for your clients?