Real Estate Marketing’s Fake Stars
Written By Humayun in DailyTimes Lahore
Islamabad (Thursday. November 28, 2013) Marketing is an art of selling dreams. It’s like a beautiful portrait if it is coloured ethically. Marketing is one of the oldest professions, as old as the business itself, maybe even more. It has served humans in more ways than one over the decades. Businesses have thrived and businessmen have become wealthier because of marketing. Marketing has always been beneficiary to both customer and businessman. Businessmen used to market their products themselves but as the times changed marketing companies came into the play. New marketing techniques were introduced and they are continuously being introduced till today. Despite the new techniques there have always been unwritten codes of ethics for marketing. These codes include not to damage personal autonomy of decision making, not manipulating social values, to keep a balance between the welfare of a common man and the business. The truth and facts have always been an essence in a marketing campaign.
But it’s different today, as few of the marketing companies have made a mockery of this noble profession. Many business syndicates and entities have handed over marketing to these marketing companies. They hire these companies to launch and advertise their products, not a bad strategy, unless and until they don’ fall into the hands of unprofessional and unethical ones. Why do i insist on ‘ethics’ time and again, whereas most people say that ethics and business can’t prosper together, let me assure you that they are wrong. If business entities won’t care for the ethics of business and marketing, soon the customer will stop caring for their products. Few marketing companies distort and withhold the product facts, in order to launch a successful marketing campaign. They deliberately undermine the customer’s right to vital information and try to manipulate their intelligence in decision making process. These companies are only interested in successfully marketing and launching products, in order to attract further clientage, what happens to the business in the long run is not their headache.
An international study shows that 73.5 percent of businesses that use deceptive marketing techniques are eventually diminished. Deceptive or vague marketing eventually bring the lack of trust by the customer on the product, as a result the business firm suffers instead of gaining, all thanks to these unethical marketing companies. Most businessmen don’t even realise this as a major factor in the slow but gradual decline in their business.
Now the question arises that if these unprofessional companies are harmful for business, how do they keep getting clients. Well … they have a few handy tactics up their sleeves, to lure new clients, besides there is always a gentleman around the corner, who can be outfoxed. One tactic is the delineation of number of clients, with whom this marketing company has worked with and of those who ‘eagerly’ seek to work with the company. Another tactic is to take the credit of a successful product, and try to prove it as the success of marketing. Yet another one is to show that the marketing company is very resourceful, who knows investors and authoritative people, who can help their clients. These companies portray them much larger then they are, just to become tempting for the clients. They teach a very dangerous lesson as well, to their clients and that is to not to worry much about the flaws in the product, a good marketing campaign can subdue these flaws, businesses and the common people are very badly effected by this ill advice.
Marketing companies like these are existent all over the world even in UK and USA, so goes for Pakistan. For a few years now we have seen one marketing company emerging named Star Marketing Private Ltd, this company has quiet similar traits to the companies mentioned above. Star marketing self-proclaims to be the No 1 marketing company in Pakistan. The company claims to have successfully marketed innumerable land projects but what they haven’t mentioned, is the number of projects which have failed, the number of plots which did not sell, for years and years to come and the innumerable losses those business entities had to face. Star marketing says that it has excellent track record and credibility, credibility in what sense? Are they saying that a common man feels that just because a project is being marketed by Star marketing, makes that project credible enough to spend his money…? I might be naive but i haven’t met that common man yet. And if they mean that displaying a few advertisements on media and filling ‘property purchase forms’ on behalf of other parties makes them credible, well i doubt these common proceedings have anything to do with credibility. It claims to have numerous offices all over the world but there is no real proof of that either, as no list of offices and their addresses is available (except one address in Dubai and that address is of some estate agency), neither are there any pictures of these offices, so that they could be confirmed from an independent source. All you get are a few international phone numbers, with some local names, what’s going on! Everybody knows how easy it is to get international SIMs, right here in Pakistan. The logo of Star Marketing says ‘Prime real estate, worldwide’. (Maybe all of us should start a ‘worldwide’ marketing company, everyone has relatives living abroad, we can publish their phone numbers and home addresses too, but will it really mean that we are worldwide). Can we humbly ask them, which real estate projects have they developed or marketed worldwide? And will they kindly give a proof to that ..! Star Marketing also claims to have largest network of marketing associates, again there are no names and addresses! (Except one) will they be gracious enough to mention the names of those credible marketing associates, because i know many credible networks who are not working with them. Most of the services mentioned on Star marketing website, can be obtained by hiring a couple of fresh MBAs. I don’t understand why an intelligent businessman would like to pay Star marketing for those services anyway.
Going through the ‘mission statement’ of Star Marketing one can easily depict that they are more attentive to their clients and investors and don’t seem to be interested in public interests. Let me humbly present an eye opener to Star marketing and its clients, any business which deals with public is bound to be diminished if it doesn’t care for public interest.
I possess the knowledge of few many projects which turned out to be fraud. Do these marketing companies who present themselves as a ‘symbol of trust’, and fill up the forms for customers, with pleasure … take responsibility in case of a fraud and compensate the innocent laymen and common public who have been conned, I don’t think so. Then why should and would, common people and investors believe in them. Selling dreams is not a bad profession, but when they are sold by the con-artists, the outcome could be horrific.
With all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, I don’ fully agree to the statement ‘Professions are a conspiracy against laity’, I think professions in the hand of ‘non-professionals’, is a conspiracy against laity.