Are You Lying to Your Customers?

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on November 27, 2011 4 Comments

This really isn’t specifically about online marketing, SEO, social media, local search and a lot of the other stuff that I usually write about. But I think I can end the post by tying it back to a few things that I have talked about quite often over the years in this space. To be more specific, I’m referring to this envelope that came in the mail from Charter last week:


I circled the wording on the front there — “Important Information Enclosed” — because it’s basically a lie. I’ve received this same envelope from Charter numerous times in the past (and similar envelopes from other companies, too), so I wasn’t fooled this time.

But I recall the first time this envelope arrived. They suckered me in to thinking there actually was important information inside — something was wrong with my account, or maybe I’d mistakenly missed a payment or some such thing.

But when you open up the envelope, the “important information” is actually a sales pitch.


They want me to upgrade from my current Internet-only service to the full bundle of Internet, cable and phone service. This may be important to Charter, but it sure as heck isn’t important to me.

Why Am I Writing About This?

Like I said, it’s not technically about online marketing. But it is about trust. Every time I get this envelope from Charter, I trust them a little less. And, to tie this back to things I have written before, there’s nothing more important than trust when it comes to growing and sustaining a business (online and offline).

Someone in Charter’s marketing department decided it was okay to call a sales pitch “important information.” Don’t be like that with your customers.

End of sermon.

And, by the way, I actually love Charter’s Internet service and have recommended them to a lot of local folks. My Internet connection has never been faster nor more stable than it’s been since we ditched the phone company’s DSL and switched to cable Internet. So, yeah, envelope falsehoods be damned — they’re still getting my business and I’m still recommending them to others. But it’s still not a good idea to chip away at my trust with every sales pitch they send.

Comments (4)

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  1. Mark says:

    If they include a return envelope that is postage paid, the nice thing to do would be to return this important information to them……

  2. Mike says:

    I agree…mail like this is such an annoyance and always makes me reconsider who I’m doing business with this. The only problem is…more times than not these companies have the market power to get away with it because there is little viable alternatives.

  3. Casie says:

    I just had a meeting two weeks ago with a direct mail company and one of the examples they used to show how they improve open rates was almost this to a t! I think you can blame them 😛

  4. Jerry says:

    What really gets me are the ones that look all governmental stating please “open immediately” “You could face up to 5 years in prison if you are not the recipient.” It’s all just junk mail.

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