Using truth in your marketing has two paradoxical sides.
First, you must understand that people on the whole, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson's character in the film A Few Good Men, “can't handle the truth”. They don't want to hear it.
But they need to hear it.
This is why we often are forced to sugarcoat the truth in order to get people to swallow it.
For instance, if you are selling a diet product you may, in your marketing, say to your prospects, “it's not your fault”. But the truth is, it is their fault. Nobody forced them to slam donuts down their neck every day. So how can we honestly and ethically say that it is not their fault? We might zoom out to the macro level, realizing it's not their fault they didn't have proper nutritional education. We let them off the hook a little bit, and then we zoom back in and remind them that now that they understand the truth about why they are overweight, it is now their responsibility. That's an example of sugarcoating the truth in order to get people to swallow it!
Now, to the paradox I mentioned…
Many people are tired of being sold a pack of lies, especially in certain markets (like the diet industry, the investment industry, or the business opportunity industry).
To people who are sick of lies and hype, nothing will sell better than unvarnished truth.
The trick, of course, is to know when to sugarcoat, and when to just tell the hard truth.
For a good example of telling the truth and selling products like hotcakes at the same time, look no further than Beach Body's P90X program. This program promises hard work, pain, sweat. And results. Everybody knows by now that those are the required ingredients for a set of six-pack abs. So for Beach Body, the unvarnished truth was the right way to go.
Question for you: Do you sugarcoat, or do you tell your prospects the cold, hard, truth?