How Objective Can YOU Be?

by Steven Wagenheim 29 replies
Hypothetical situation.

Marketer A gives you his book to read on whatever the subject is. Doesn't
matter.

Now, you personally don't like marketer A. You feel this person is not the
most trustworthy person in the world and don't like what he stands for as
a marketer.

You read the book, if for no other reason than just to see what it's about and
see if your feelings about the marketer are justified.

You discover, upon reading, that the book itself is actually pretty good. It's
not Pulitzer Prize material, but it has value and you can honestly say that
it's something you could see paying money for.

Can you be objective enough to give a testimonial for the book even
though you personally don't like the marketer, or will your personal
feelings prevent you from giving that testimonial?

There is no right or wrong answer here. I'm just curious how many people
can be objective about this.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #objective
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Harvey
    Of course a person can be objective in a situation like that. You need to set aside your personal feelings and just judge the content of the book. If it's good say so. If not, then be honest.

    Personally I do not like a lot of marketing "guru's" and they come across as sleazy and just out for money, but overall there are a ton of their products I like.

    That is my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Bruno
      Being objectionable and providing a testimonial are two different things in my eyes.

      A testimonial goes little bit deeper in your providing your personal testament, recommendation to not only the works of the author but them as a person as well as how they do business.

      It's a closer relationship in that respect, versus giving your personal opinion on the actual works that you are presented with.

      So if you personally don't like the marketer from the beginning, the actual testimonial is a huge step above and beyond the actual works that you reviewed.

      Frank Bruno
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      • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
        Got to agree with Frank here...

        despite the fact the work might be good, your testimonial reflects on the person's business too.

        However, it depends what you don't LIKE about them. If it's shady business practices then I'd probably tell them I'm too busy to provide a testimonial and wish them luck.

        I have a feeling it's slightly less hypothetical than suggested though.
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      • Profile picture of the author Hamida Harland
        I think I could give honest feedback back to the marketer in question, but I think I might decline on giving an actual public testimonial. That would be going as far as to say I supported the marketer and what he/she stands for as well as saying the products good, and I don't think I'd be comfortable doing that.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Duxbury
          If one doesn't respect (which I think is quite different from liking) the individual then don't put yourself in the comprimising situation of reviewing the product.

          If you do respect the individual (and even like them) then yes it is professional to be objective.

          Regards

          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
            I would NOT be giving a testimonial if I didn't like the marketer... although you may FEEL you are only giving your testimonial to the product

            You aren't.. in reality your word is take as marketer and product recommendation

            Peace

            Jay

            p.s. IMHO
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          • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
            It would seem to me that giving a testimonial and putting your name on it implies an across the board recommendation for not only the product, but also the person.

            Unless your testimonial includes something along the lines of:

            "While I think the author is a total dusch bag, his current work exceeded his usual rubbish by a wide margin. I'd buy this current work, but stay away from all the other things this person does... blah blah blah."

            I just don't see the value in publishing that kind of a testimonial.

            Bottom line: A testimonial is a blanket statement endorsing that person and all that person stands for. The blanket endorsement, although not spelled out, is certainly implied. It would be hard for a reader to judge as anything but.

            KJ
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            • Profile picture of the author KenJ
              You have to love the guy to love the product
              they intrinsically linked surely
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              • Profile picture of the author giveusallfreedom
                Steve you skipped an option.

                Can I give an objective testimonial? Yes
                Will I? No

                It's not a question of being objective. If you endorse a product you're endorsing that person too. It's one thing to send a message out to your list and say "This product is great, but the guy who created it is a snake." Would I do that? Probably.

                But to give a testimonial without being able to qualify it. No way.

                Even when I do give testimonials, they are generally still very qualified. I try to not merely endorse a product, but to say exactly what the benefits are and why I endorse the product.
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      • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
        Originally Posted by Frank Bruno View Post

        Being objectionable and providing a testimonial are two different things in my eyes
        They certainly are Frank :p Unless of course you provide a particularly obnoxious testimonial !

        Joking aside, being objective is a grown-up skill, if you know what I mean. Like Mike said, I'd avoid having to give a testimonial or review of someone I didn't like or respect, but sometimes you have to deal with this situation; who's ever written a reference for an ex employee that they didn't like? Sometimes it's what you don't say that matters.

        Peter
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Steven,

          You're aggregating judgements. That's fine, but the question implies that being objective involves being able to segregate them.

          Whether I like a person or not is nearly irrelevant to your question. As far as their being shady, depends on how. Do they cheat at pool? Lie about other marketers? Pad their page counts by double-spacing? Have questionable subscription handling practices? Stiff affiliates? Refuse legitimate refund requests?

          Some of those will affect the customer and some won't.

          Some are deal-breakers and some aren't. Some are on the line.

          I'd say it's a case-by-case judgement.


          Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author James Turner
    Now, you personally don't like marketer A. You feel this person is not the
    most trustworthy person in the world and don't like what he stands for as
    a marketer.
    In that case I would politely refuse to provide a review or testimonial
    and my objectivity wouldn't come into question.

    I'm careful about the company I keep and a testimonial would imply not
    only my endorsement of the product but also the author.

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    I gotta go with the consensus on this one. Don't even offer to review it if you think the marketer is "not the most trustworthy person in the world and don't like what he stands for as a marketer."

    But if you do, I believe you're obligated to review the product and keep your personal feelings about the author out of it. See, by agreeing to review it, you've tacitly agreed to put your opinions of the person aside and focus on their message. Otherwise, you impugn your own motives, if you follow.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      John,
      But if you do, I believe you're obligated to review the product and keep your personal feelings about the author out of it.
      Excellent point, and one that's more often a problem than promoting something when you don't like the creator.

      People seem to be much more likely to promote a marginal product when they like the seller than to promote even an excellent product when they don't.


      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Jim B.
    Interesting post Steven.

    If I really find the way Marketer A works unethical then I won't support him/her in any way.

    However, if it's just Marketer A's marketing style I don't like but the product is very good then yes I could give a testimonial.


    Take care,
    Jim B.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    Waggers,

    NOT, I hope, a reaction to the testimonial you offered and gave in a recent controversial thread?

    Steve
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    Not promoting right now

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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      NOT, I hope, a reaction to the testimonial you offered and gave in a recent controversial thread?
      Shouldn't we be careful about confusing a testimonial with a review?


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Shouldn't we be careful about confusing a testimonial with a review?


        Paul
        Go on Paul, I'll bite. What's the difference?

        Peter
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Peter,
          Go on Paul, I'll bite. What's the difference?
          A review is usually limited in distribution, and includes (hopefully) a comprehensive explanation of the reviewer's thoughts on the product, good, bad and indifferent. It's presented in full context, and normally speaks only to the product in question. It is intended, when done honestly, to help people make an informed decision regarding a consideration of purchase.

          A testimonial is generally a short, contextless blurb, intended to be used in the literature promoting a product.

          Let's add a term to the list: Endorsement.

          This can be of the product or seller or both, and is intended to promote the product, usually expressing the endorser's personal opinions of one or both. Endorsers, unlike reviewers, are usually paid by the merchant promoting the product.


          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
            Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

            Peter,A review is usually limited in distribution, and includes (hopefully) a comprehensive explanation of the reviewer's thoughts on the product, good, bad and indifferent. It's presented in full context, and normally speaks only to the product in question. It is intended, when done honestly, to help people make an informed decision regarding a consideration of purchase.

            A testimonial is generally a short, contextless blurb, intended to be used in the literature promoting a product.

            Let's add a term to the list: Endorsement.

            This can be of the product or seller or both, and is intended to promote the product, usually expressing the endorser's personal opinions of one or both. Endorsers, unlike reviewers, are usually paid by the merchant promoting the product.


            Paul
            Thanks for that Paul. Going by your definition, I think Steven's OP is confused. He describes a review being required but uses the term testimonial. If that's the case, would people's answers necessarily alter?

            Peter
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      • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Shouldn't we be careful about confusing a testimonial with a review?


        Paul
        I have to admit, I had the same thoughts as Steve F (hence my closing line) - however, there is a huge difference between a testimonial and a review. Suffice to say, I would consider REVIEWING Marketer A's product. Providing the review wasn't to be used as a testimonial, only used for feedback in improving the product.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Shouldn't we be careful about confusing a testimonial with a review?


        Paul
        Yes, Paul, we should. Thanks for pointing out my mistake!

        Having said that, my question, minus correction, hasn't been answered. Not that anyone is under obligation to do so, of course.

        Steve
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        Not promoting right now

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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

    Hypothetical situation.

    Marketer A gives you his book to read on whatever the subject is. Doesn't
    matter.

    Now, you personally don't like marketer A. You feel this person is not the
    most trustworthy person in the world and don't like what he stands for as
    a marketer.

    You read the book, if for no other reason than just to see what it's about and
    see if your feelings about the marketer are justified.

    You discover, upon reading, that the book itself is actually pretty good. It's
    not Pulitzer Prize material, but it has value and you can honestly say that
    it's something you could see paying money for.

    Can you be objective enough to give a testimonial for the book even
    though you personally don't like the marketer, or will your personal
    feelings prevent you from giving that testimonial?

    There is no right or wrong answer here. I'm just curious how many people
    can be objective about this.
    Yes, I believe I could. I have always taken pride in my ability to be objective (to the chagrin of my family and friends) - HOWEVER, I am also not foolish enough to think I can be completely objective about anything, BUT I think it is that attitude that helps stay objective.

    I mean if I thought I COULD be completely objective, then that is a subjective statement. Kind of like people who see no wrong in their own kids.

    Now, I think you can have your cake and eat it too with this one. Let's say I don't get along with a marketer, but I decide to review the product anyway. I want to protect my reputation, but I did agree to give a review.

    We will assume I like the product. Here's how I would start the testiomonial...

    "Hi Marketer A,

    In business there are different techniques we use, and to be honest, most of the time we DON'T agree. Sometimes I get the impression we get on each others nerves. BUT I have to begrudgingly admit that your PRODUCT TITLE HERE is surprisingly good.

    CONTINUE WITH TESTIMONIAL...

    All the best,
    Michael Oksa"

    Well, that's what I think I'd do anyway.

    ~Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
    I have to do this sometimes when working with magazines- I'll be askedto write about someone I don't like, or don't respect
    The amazing thing is often I come out of the interview with a new found respect for that person

    Having said that, if they were a complete enemy I would probably sayno if they asked me to review it.
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  • Profile picture of the author SusanUSA
    I can be objective since I am writing about the content of the book and not the content of the author's character.

    I've had to do this many times in the business world with people contact me for employee referrals. With the ways the human resource laws work, you must be very carful about what you say about a person. Your comments must be backed with substance and facts rather than opinions. Opinions can get us sued! So being objective is a requirement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    On a semi-related note, as of now 93.75% of people say they CAN be objective.

    It reminds of studies (not sure if they are real or not) that show 80% of people think they are above average.

    Not to go way off topic, but I was just going to type that the world would be a better place if 90%+ people WERE objective.

    But then I started thinking about whether or not subjectivity has its place. I think it does. Still tickles me a bit though that so many people responded that they can be objective.

    As far as review/testimonial/endorsement, I still stick by what I mentioned before. There is a way to do it, without saying you agree with everything Marketer A does.

    ~Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      I'd like to think that I'm subjectively objective...

      Michael, you're far too deep for me at this time on a Sunday. I think I should just go and crack open a couple of beers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
        Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

        I'd like to think that I'm subjectively objective...

        Michael, you're far too deep for me at this time on a Sunday. I think I should just go and crack open a couple of beers.
        LOL.

        See, that's the problem...I gave that up about 18 years ago so I don't have any way to deaden my deep thinking brain cells, but I am enjoying a cup of coffee.

        ~Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

    Hypothetical situation.

    Marketer A gives you his book to read on whatever the subject is. Doesn't
    matter.

    Now, you personally don't like marketer A. You feel this person is not the
    most trustworthy person in the world and don't like what he stands for as
    a marketer.

    You read the book, if for no other reason than just to see what it's about and
    see if your feelings about the marketer are justified.

    You discover, upon reading, that the book itself is actually pretty good. It's
    not Pulitzer Prize material, but it has value and you can honestly say that
    it's something you could see paying money for.

    Can you be objective enough to give a testimonial for the book even
    though you personally don't like the marketer, or will your personal
    feelings prevent you from giving that testimonial?

    There is no right or wrong answer here. I'm just curious how many people
    can be objective about this.
    Steven, I haven't read the other answers yet, but I wanted to add my take on this...

    I can be objective, and I could write the testimonial.

    You would find that the testimonial would be very specific to the book itself, and what I thought was good about it. It would not read like a blanket endorsement of the author.

    I suppose that qualifies my answer - I could be objective about the book, but not the author. Assuming, of course, that any ill feelings were the result of personality clash or something, rather than past bad business dealings (like being cheated).

    Edited after reading the other responses:

    If a testimonial is defined as Paul defined it, no, I couldn't give a blanket approval of the author in question.

    I could do an honest review, and even an endorsement is allowed to be transparent about it.

    Any review or endorsement would, as I wrote earlier, apply purely to the book in question, and would say so.

    As they used to say back in Nebraska, "even a blind pig finds a cob once in a while..."
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