Marketing Lies & What They Really Mean

Find out what the top ten marketing messages really mean to your customers.

Over the years, I've been exposed to thousands of marketing messages--on websites, in press releases, during conferences, and over the phone. Because such messages tend to be full of BS, I've compiled a list of the most common marketing lies and what companies really mean when they tell them. Here are my ten favorites:

  • Lie: "Our products are [cutting-edge, leading-edge, bleeding-edge]."
  • Truth: "This is a beta release that we're hoping you'll debug for us."
  • Lie: "Our products are [state-of-the-art, third generation, web-capable]."
  • Truth: "We have products but no idea why you'd want to buy them."
  • Lie: "We will exceed your expectations."
  • Truth: "We can't because we just raised them with this stupid remark."
  • Lie: "We want to be your partner not just your provider."
  • Truth: "We want to lock in your account to keep competitors out."
  • Lie: "We developed our product with your business objectives in mind."
  • Truth: "We're praying that we have something you think you need."
  • Lie: "We are the industry leader."
  • Truth: "We know this is a meaningless claim, but it sounds cool."
  • Lie: "Our products are [extraordinary, excellent, unique]."
  • Truth: "We have no idea how to quantify the benefits of buying."
  • Lie: "We provide 360 degree service."
  • Truth: "When you call, you end up running around in circles."
  • Lie: "We provide world-class customer service."
  • Truth: "When you call, the service tech will barely speak English."
  • Lie: "We have the lowest cost of ownership."
  • Truth: "Our product is massively overpriced."

Readers: Do you have any favorites that you'd like to share with me?

Last updated: Nov 30, 2012


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: