My last blog started with a discussion of IT malfunctions and it might have made me sound like a cross between a technophobe and a grumpy old man, but I hope I’m neither. I like innovation and I think I’m relatively quick to adopt new technology. What I don’t like is broken promises and unfortunately IT, both hardware and software seem to be an area where they are far too plentiful.
Marketing is all about promises. Virtually all marketing communication makes promises to the person receiving it, whether it’s a promotional offer, a new product announcement, advertising, exhibition stands or even a business card. Sometimes the offer is very explicit for example product performance or service claims. In other instances, it’s more subtle, or just implied. But if you subscribe to the view (which I do) that all marketing should be aiming to change what someone thinks or what they do, then there must be a promise in there somewhere – the ‘quid pro quo’.
Outside of the world of work and specifically marketing, I have always believed that promises are sacrosanct. If I promise to do something, I will do everything I possibly can to keep that promise. To me, it’s an issue of trust. Promises kept will earn more trust in the future, a promise broken may be the last chance we get with that person. How many promises do you expect a politician to keep?
In business and marketing, I think it’s the same. When we make a promise, a customer trusts us to deliver and we need to respect that trust and do everything possible to deliver on our promise. When someone puts their trust in you, they are taking a risk and you have the power to look after them and reward them or let them down and expose them to the consequences.
Have a look at your own business, and your marketing communications – what promises do you make to existing and new customers? Are you confident you can deliver on them all, or are one or two stretching your capabilities? Maybe it’s something you would like to be able to do, but it’s not very easy to make it happen every time. Perhaps you make a promise so you look better (or at least as good) as the competition? You could even ask some of your customers how they think you deliver on your promises.
If there is a gap between what you promise and what you can guarantee to deliver, something needs to change – capability improvement or watering down the promise. In the end, customers will find you out and, when they get the chance, move their business elsewhere.
If you’d like a confidential discussion about your business promises, why not give us a call on 0121 222 5743 or email us here.