I’m a filmmaker, but at university (or College to you Americans), I studied Marketing.  And in this modern age of Independent Filmmaking, I often rely on advertising work to pay the bills. Now I do this ethically, so I not only do the filming, I will bring to life a true telling of the business. And one of the biggest mistakes I often see is one that is easily forgotten – OVERSELLING.

Wikipedia describes this as “selling of a volatile good or service in excess of actual capacity.”

Sounds fairly technical, but its not.

Do you remember when going for your first job, this piece of advice, “Don’t oversell yourself in the interview.”

That piece of advice was about ensuring you didn’t promise anything that you could not deliver. There is no point in getting a job if you don’t have the required ability to do that job (or at least meet the expectations you have set for yourself). If you couldn’t get that job on your merits, then it is probably best to not put yourself in the situation.

Now if you consider your marketing efforts are in a nutshell, you (your product) seeking employment (the customer) via an interview (the sales pitch), then overselling is a very real risk.

You do not want to promise something you or your product cannot achieve or do. And by the way – that is illegal in Australia under the corporation’s law and trade practices acts

People have to rely on what you tell them about your goods/services. It’s how they make their buying decision after all.  They can reasonably expect your product to cost and perform as you have described it. If you have a sign out the front stating, “All products half price,” then that’s what needs to be in store. If the sign says, “Biggest burger in town” then it needs to be.

Don’t make promises that aren’t achievable or you are not going to fulfil. And don’t market your product to meet expectations it simply can’t meet.

Beware – buyer’s remorse When people have parted with hard earned money, they want to feel the decision was sound. You do not want them to REGRET buying your product. Once regret sets in, the chance of them becoming a repeat customer slides drastically into the never-never. Regardless, you do not want your customers being disappointed in your brand. And every product you sell helps or hinders your branding.

Bad News spreads faster than Good. People talk. We are social creatures. And we love bad news. Telling it, hearing it, we love to hate it. Just look at the nightly news and count the good stories verse the bad. Jump onto facebook and look at the news feeds. Media knows that bad news sells. It also spreads faster too. With the accessibility of Twitter, Facebook and other social media, bad news can travel almost instantly. So in this environment, why would you risk your brand, your identity, your future business?

A little helping of razzmatazz. Now in your marketing efforts, you may need to apply a bit of photoshop to make the advertisement look right. If you can’t picture what is acceptable, just think of most fast food chain food photo’s. I am yet to rip open the packaging and find what I have bought exactly matches the image on the board. That’s not overselling, we know that a bit of sprucing is needed for some good shots. What I do know is that when a steak sanga is said to include a 200g rump stake, it should include a  rump stake of at least 200g size.

How do you find the balance – promise what you can deliver on, even apply some razzmatazz. Just ensure you are authentic.

I think a great example of this is those Old Spice Adverts:


About the author

Tony Hooper’s career began in the corporate world, however that changed dramatically with a move into the Media industry. He began making short documentary pieces (on aspects of business) and in exploring his more creative side he produced a number of short films, including the series “Stock Footage Fairytales” (now being remastered). He has worked on a number of music videos and commercials, as well as writing screenplays for both short and feature film. Tony is currently exploring the intrigues of experimental film while preparing for his debut directing a feature. He is a CPA, and a member of a number of screen bodies, and has worked within the corporate sector for over a decade, including as a Senior Executive in a major media company. His plethora of experience, from negotiating contracts, reporting financial affairs, and managing film sets, and his adaptability with situations and technology, has given him a wide breadth of knowledge on all aspects of production.