For some, testimonials are what sell their business. The Federal Trade Commission issued a new regulation (12/1/09) that is changing the rules of business. These rules apply to ALL testimonials, endorsements and affiliates that specify results. The new regulation is an attempt to make companies become transparent and to be current which helps customers feel more confident.
Before companies were able to be truthful and not tell the whole truth, now it is your responsibility to be careful, thorough and honest in your marketing. According to the Commission’s guidelines:
“The fundamental question is whether, viewed objectively, the relationship between the advertiser and the speaker is such that the speaker’s statement can be considered ’sponsored’ by the advertiser and therefore an ‘advertising message.’”
While all of this can be scary, the thing to remember is that the changes are only making legal what were considered good marketing practices before. It has never been advised to build a brand on lies and mis-truths as the repercussions were enough to taint your brand for life. Now on top of those risks, the FTC has added some steep fines.
Yes these are major changes and they will affect how you promote your business, but look at the good things it has done. It will help you get better testimonials from your clients, better client relationships, improve your marketing; it could even shorten your sales cycle. So look at these new rules as an opportunity and have fun with it!
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