24 Oct Don’t make promises in your marketing strategy!
One of the first rules we learn in sales is “never make promises”. It sounds like a sales person trying to cover their own ___ (insert body part here), but it’s actually a fundamental law of good customer service. This applies to companies’ marketing strategy, as well.
As business owners, as with good salespeople, our word should be our bond. Making a promise should not be taken lightly. Too often, business owners make the mistake of promising too much and not being able to deliver. This does not occur because they don’t fully intend to deliver, nor does it happen because business owners are being deceptive. It occurs because every market is dynamic and continuously evolving. Reality today is not necessarily the reality of the future. A smart marketer/business owner evolves with the market and it is critical that they are free to do so. Making hard and fast promises restricts the ability of their marketing strategy to evolve.
Take this quote from Google in 2005: “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or Web search results pages,” a company blog post said in 2005. “There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”
Problem: In a New York Post Article, Google confirmed they are testing banner ads with companies like Southwest Airlines. They’ve also added a number of graphical doodads to search results like photos, Google+ profiles, and blog author bios.
Was the quote from the VP of Search a lie? Of course not. It was simply a promise that could not be kept with the knowledge that was available at the time. Google ruled search advertising in those days. They dominated search results. Back then, people appreciated the simplicity. But the market changed. Turns out, in 2013, people like graphics. They like pictures. They click on ads with pictures more frequently. More importantly, Google has to change its marketing strategy to keep up with the marketing strategy of Facebook ads and a number of other competitors that were unforeseen in 2005.
The point? Never make promises you cannot absolutely guarantee – which is an extremely small number of promises, so small, in fact, it’s best to not make promises.