Ethics or Lack Of

(Omaha, NE)  —  It’s always astonishing. Stern PR occasionally encounters agencies, sales reps and others who prefer to speak mistruths or fail to disclose bias – all for a sale. Notes Susan Stern, “I am a marketing representive who always looks out for the best interest of the companies I represent. Sure, I intend to make a living. But I don’t recommend something that a client does not need. Sometimes, I discover that others do not espouse high standards of ethics & professionalism.”

Recently, a business-to-business organization hired Stern PR to handle all its marketing. The company wanted to take their advertising to a higher level. Stern PR – the obvious solution for producing high quality marketing, that is both effective & affordable.

During my inquiry into what went wrong with the agency the company had been using, I discovered that the agency failed to run ads in a top publishing format. Turns out that it intentionally failed to do so because it ran a competing publication. This is an obvious conflict of interest for an “agency” that was suppose to look out for the best interest of the client. I would not call that group an “Advertising Agency.” It was a publisher. Biased.

Another example of questionable business practice is the recent tactic of a local salesman for a national directory. Remarks Susan Stern, “another client with whom I created his website, slogan, re-created its image, etc., hired me to handle the ad placement & price, graphic design. My objective was to cut down the ad size & save my client hundreds of dollars per month because the particular directory in question – is becoming obsolete – due to the internet.”

The salesman produced a testimonial letter that he purported to be authored by my client. The “letter” complimented the directory for its outstanding results & the high profit margins the advertising created. Yeah, right.

The salesman tried, but failed to pull the wool over the eyes of Stern PR™. “He used heavy pressure, produced questionable statistics, attempted to wear me down (wasted my time) & tried to get me to sign authorization to use the “testimonial letter” for his advertising. Of course, I immediately sensed his dishonesty.”  Turns out, that the sales sleaze crafted the phony letter of which its contents were fabricated, as were all the stats he produced.

States Susan Stern, “the salesman had the nerve to call & yell at me after I contacted my client to verify the authenticity of the letter. I was direct & to the point. I told the salesman that he was “unethical & professional.” That it was despicable that he produced a phony letter, which didn’t even have my client’s last name spelled correctly. The salesman said, “I do it all the time,” to which I reminded him how unethical/unprofessional that was, before I said goodbye & hung up.” This guy was a rep for a national company!

Nonetheless, my client was pleased Stern PRwas able to spot a shady character. The client dumped the salesman. Of course, the national directory lost a major sale. While the advertising shall continue in the directory in question, due to the need for some presence there, the size of the ad shall be considerably reduced, as will the monthly charge to my client.

Says Susan Stern, “another business person contacted me to inquire if Stern PR offers “kick backs,” for referring customers. “I told the individual that I do not offer kick backs or referral fees.  That people should refer me for the fantastic job I do, rather than based on a monetary incentive, which wreaks of unobjectivity.” Of course, Stern PR™ is willing to offer a discount to the individual who referred business, should he need a website, corporate video, etc.  But a kick back – no way.

Summarizes Susan Stern, “the lesson here is that companies should run their business, & outsource their marketing/advertising to Stern PR™. ‘Cause I know what I am doing, and I understand the in’s & out’s of the industry. And, what I don’t know, I shall learn. Plus, I am a straight shooter.”

“Yes, I strongly believe that many agencies, media outlets, publishers & others with whom I deal are honest, ethical & professional. But there are bad apples, too.  Fortunately, I am able to spot an unsavory type & uncover organizations with bias. I believe my strong journalism background and stern approach to high pressure sales are assets to the companies I represent. I always strive to do what’s in my client’s best interest!”

Call Susan Stern today for a website design, marketing, advertising or public relations quote.
Stern PR™.  Serious Strategy. Really!

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