Predatory Marketing Preying on the Masses
Amidst all the chaos of social-political and economic structures crumbling, one can easily get lost in the uncertainty of the times and the dark shadows cast by mass media. Another option is to look at the situations we are presented with and find something that will help us grow. This is true on the level of individuals, companies and families. By observing some of the questionable behavior that big companies are engaging in during the COVID crisis, we can learn what not to do and begin to take the opposite steps in order to build stronger foundations for future prosperity.
A key concept for small business owners to work with is building lasting relationships. When you passionately promote a service that you believe in to your community, using good communication skills to show how you can help, you have taken the first steps in creating the exchange of money for services. There is no “selling” involved, just genuine human relationships.
Corporations who believe they exist outside of the realm of these relationships are using the current state of affairs as leverage to increase revenue with no regard for people’s wellbeing. This behavior is rampant with multi-level marketing companies who have become masters of pulling on people’s heart strings.
What could be bad about working from home, setting your own hours and having an ever expansive income? People who have left these companies report this dream life being marketed to them by old friends from high school or college that suddenly appear on Facebook. The initial excitement of reconnecting with an old friend ends with the mandatory investment of hundreds to thousands of dollars as a buy in price.
Companies like Limelife and Mary Kay are seeing a surge in people buying in and becoming sellers. They see the skyrocketing unemployment rates as opportunity. With the unemployment numbers expected to hit 20 million, the selling of a fantasy virus free, unlimited cash, make your own hours dream will be a strong crusade to look out for.
If you are upset about this ethical dilemma, I offer fuel for your fire. companies such as Mary Kay have been labeled as essential services. Because when grandma has trouble breathing you should go straight for the lipstick and skin moisturizer.
Since pandemics are not a very common issue, it is easy to improvise new rules in a situation as unfamiliar as COVID 19. One of the industries that can easily have their customers financially cornered is travel and comfort. Frontier airlines was recently confronted with issues surrounding the pandemic that had them scrambling whether or not to cancel a flight. During this debacle, they tried to save their tales with no regard for their customers.
The company sent out multiple text messages to customers imploring them to cancel their flight. They conveniently left out the fact that if customers wait until the company cancels they get a full refund (Elliott 2020). Frontier ended up cancelling the flight. This same corner cutting has been reported with hotels such as Sandals resort, who when confronted with a cancellation due to the pandemic, kept $14,000 dollars of a client’s’ money. They were not embarrassed to say that the contract allows them to keep their customer’s money. This lack of interest for the customer’s wellbeing, especially during these hard times is just sad, and it’s bad business.
It’s no surprise that big companies have lost the human touch. They chase dollars at all costs and go for immediate profit over the high path of developing relationships and long-term gains. While mega corporations invest in psychologists and human behavior analysts to increase profit, small business owners can step in here with some leverage. Hard working people who value community can look out for the customer’s best interest and practice acts of kindness. This will leave a sweet taste in the customer’s mouth for years to come.