Buyer beware – What sounds like a good idea sometimes isn’t

Lately I have been doing a lot of research for one of my clients – mostly on various online marketing or promotional opportunities they have been aproached with. My client wanted to know if the opportunities were worthwhile and represented good value for money – and whether they would generate a reasonable return.

I would advise that you evaluate these sorts of opportunities with an open mind. That’s not to say with unbridled enthusiasm and

One was an opportunity to join an exclusive online advisory panel positioned as ‘preferred’ suppliers for a particular target audience. It would provide fairly exclusive access as part of a limited group of suppliers which the referrer would direct prequalified enquiries to. They infer those enquiries would be substantial given the high traffic to their website (without actually suggesting how many relevant enquiries that traffic may generate).

The other was for a professional services (accountants, solicitors, surveyors, etc) review website which claimed to offer broader exposure online due to their high traffic. Combined with independent vetting of professional qualifications and impartial customer reviews, the mode is similar to sites dedicated to providing impartial reviews of tradespeople (which have proven successful).

In theory, both opportunities could provide increased exposure to my client’s target audiences. However, both opportunities came with a rather hefty price tag. I was asked to look into each and evaluate their merits.

The obvious selling point for both opportunities was their supposed high volume of traffic and new visitors to their respective websites every month. Their greatest benefit to customers is the increased exposure and potential for new enquiries. However, I am not inclined to believe a salesperson’s claims – especially in the absence of specific figures or supporting evidence.

It’s nothing personal – I don’t only mistrust salespeople – but I recognise they are inclined to present their products and services in the most positive and beneficial terms. They make all sorts of claims; some claims are valid and can be substantiated, and others are less reliable.


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