Can we trust the social trade business?

Trust marketing

What we as Smartians can (not) learn from VW

VW built fraudulent software into hundreds of thousands of vehicles and believed it would have no effect. In the last few days, the VW share plunged into the bottomless. It is many billions of euros that VW will cost this whacking.

When the first report about the VW scandal hit the ticker, we were just writing a new module on "trust marketing". So we paid special attention. VW directly gave us the opposite thesis to the question we are currently dealing with:

When do others trust us?
When can a customer assume that we mean it honestly?

The central question in trust marketing

The VW scandal showed what you should never do in your marketing: lies. Installing a device in a vehicle that pretends to be of the wrong quality is a form of lying. The decisive switch in trust marketing is called:

Are you ready to manipulate or not for a higher paragraph?

Marketing is much more than design, headlines and other details. It's a mindset. It's about everyone deciding how to run their business. With a smart business concept, we cannot excuse ourselves that others would have done it. Anyone who wants to push coal at all costs will turn a blind eye every now and then and at some point do more than that.

Trust marketing has a different view of man

Do you believe that the human being is a biomechanical device to whom you only have to use the correct stimulus words? Or pretend wrong numbers? The ruble is already rolling. Many online courses and other marketing materials pretend it's all about the right "neuro-stimuli". Press the hot buttons in the correct order to make the rats dance. We call this "greed marketing".

What kind of image of man is that?

It didn't work at VW. With others it may not be exposed. We believe that dishonesty doesn't pay off in the long run. When you position yourself as an expert, your reputation is your most valuable asset. Smart is different. Our advice: Build on the fact that others can trust you. Deliver what you promise.

We call it smart, if

  • the product this is what it was advertised as.
  • the product brings real benefit to the buyer.
  • the product feels good and has a good impact.
  • so it corresponds to the value for which one is paying.

Plea for trust marketing

When you build smart business, we believe values ​​will count in the future. That is why we advocate trust marketing. It's not about technology. In case of doubt, Amazon, VW and the big ones have more technology than we do. VW shows how critical it is when technology is used to manipulate values. So let's pay attention to our values. Never let these go down the drain.

Here is a checklist from module 7 of our new product (the name of which we will not reveal yet). The tests are running and we hope to be able to say when we will be out in October. This checklist is primarily about factors directly related to the actual sales process.

6 tips on what is important for trust marketing

Tip 1 - work with real descriptions

• You describe your product as it is.
• Everything else is stupid. Because the customer will see the product.

Tip 2 - work with real references

• Only work with real testimonials.
• Real people give their real opinions.
• Fakes ruin your reputation.

Tip 3 - work with real prices

Don't count your product in heaven for discounts. These are moonlight prices. You need a real, comprehensible price structure. On this you can then give "real discounts" for promotions. That's what we call "honest discounts".

Tip 4 - work with real seals

Anyone today can build a seal with many asterisks in Photoshop. And it looks good when the golden word “quality-checked” can be seen. But does it have substance? When you use seals, make sure that they say something and that they are correct. Large suppliers like to stamp “fair trade”, for example, and the small print says that this refers to 1 of many ingredients. Something like that doesn't work in the long run. You buy something like this once but not twice.

Tip 5 - work with real scarcity

The bad habit of artificial shortages is spreading on the internet and especially in large online shops. Unfortunately, when large suppliers indicate that there are only 3 items in stock, this cannot always be trusted. Often the warehouses are bursting full. They are being misrepresented.

Smartians are not freely available. So we (unfortunately) cannot accept every coaching. If we did, these lines would not be written. Also, don't rent a 300-seat hall if you're only expecting 30 attendees. With all 5 types of solo preneurs, there are entrepreneurial decisions to manage goods and capacity only to a limited extent. You can and may communicate that. But differentiate “real scarcity” (we call this limited supply) and “artificial scarcity”, which manipulatively fakes scarcity just to create pressure.

Tip 6 - Work with good decision windows

Early bird prices and other decision windows are important in marketing. But of course you should use them. Anyone who creates a run and sets up a squeeze channel in which a decision has to be made within a few minutes creates an artificial stress window. We want to win customers, not rush them. Marketing is not a hunt.

Tip 7 - Do not retain customers if there are formal errors

Contracts are binding on both sides. But it can happen that someone overlooks something or buys too quickly. How do you benefit from winning through the form, but forcing the customer into something that does not help them? This is a difficult scale, as many customers no longer have the feeling that they are always causing economic damage with cancellations. But you too have placed the wrong order too quickly and then made a different decision. We are for fair play on both sides.


We are certain: trust marketing is the key to long-term success. You want to work smarter. That only happens when customers come back on their own, so you don't have to work hard to win over every new customer. In other words: when your customers trust you.

With this in mind: learn from VW. Do not include anything that artificially accelerates any values. Rely on honesty and continuity.