The windows of a furniture store in a nearby shopping center were painted with words in bold bubble letters; “Going Out of Business” and there is a young man out by the street dancing to tunes blasting through his earphones, twirling a sign that promised huge discounts at that same furniture store.
Since I know someone who knows someone who works in that soon to be “out of business” store, I just had to know why? It seemed to always have people going in and out, come to think of it, it has been going out of business for a few months now.

So what’s the deal? Was the store really closing its doors or was this a marketing ploy to dupe people into thinking they were getting bargain basement prices?

As I suspected, it was all a marketing stunt. And would you believe they even paid a guy to come into their store and set up this brand of advertising?

Isn’t that deceitful to play on people’s desire to save money? And are the prices really reduced all that much when you consider the furniture in this place or other’s like it, is not high end and is probably bought in bulk to minimize the store’s cost then marked up so high that when the price slashing begins, the store still reaps a healthy profit margin. Legal? probably so. Ethical? I guess that depends on who you ask.

In my opinion marketing has to be truthful or people will wise up and know they’ve been had. Maybe those who shop in that store and others like it, save some money during this never ending “going out of business” sale. But why the sham? Why not just advertise an end of season sale and claim that “everything must go” to make room for new designs. Why lie?

By now you are probably wondering what does a furniture store and their less than ethical marketing skills have to do with Chiropractic Marketing?

Imagine if a profession such as ours, ran their marketing campaigns in the same way that furniture store does. Making claims that are not true just to get people in the door, what do you think would happen?

After the state regulatory board doles out their punishment for fraudulent claims, you think anyone would dare set foot into that chiropractic office? Because you know the reputation that all chiropractors have been working so hard to build, would take a huge hit. Trust would be lost, not just for that one chiropractor that made the wrong choice, but the whole profession would take the brunt of it.

Now it seems pretty obvious who suffers when anyone in the chiropractic profession chooses to go with hyped up claims that can’t be substantiated. If you think it’s just chiropractors you would be wrong. The ripple effect from just one infraction can be devastating not only the chiropractor, but also for the staff and their families.

But the ones that get hurt the worst are the patients. Not just the patients of the doctor who’s marketing was in error, but for all chiropractic patients. The trust that is lost and the humiliation of having to deal with friends and family who seemed to love seizing the opportunity to tell all they know that chiropractic is bunk.  And then comes the dreaded;  “I told you so”.

So you see the cost of ethical marketing is really very small when you consider the huge cost and damage of unethical marketing.

It’s tricky and so easy to want to send the message to our target audiences that chiropractic can be the right solution to surgery and prescription medications for many health conditions. But we cannot claim that chiropractic is more than a alternative. Thankfully we can share though ethical chiropractic marketing that chiropractic is a choice to be considered for many health conditions.

It is because we can, that we should. But we should choose our marketing strategies wisely by researching and finding chiropractic ads that have suggestive information, not claims. Testimonials from real patients that have shared their success with chiropractic care. And offers of service that are within guidelines. Every state and country is different. It is up to the individual doctor to know and understand his or her guidelines.