What is one of the biggest crimes committed by businesses everywhere?

Promising more than they can deliver. This is the topic is my latest JAM article…

DO AS I SAY.
You have to live your marketing message. Before you can make a single promise to your potential customers your organisation must understand what it is, they must believe in it and live by it.
Or else, you are guilty of a lack of integrity.
The sin of unsupported communication is rampant and has been for decades.
How many times have you purchased an item – anything from a home or car to a coffee maker or fabric cleaner – only to find it failed to live up to its marketing hype. I think I can safely say that would be…everyone!
Or, how many times have you made a purchase and the delivery process or after sales support was nothing like the promise made online or in the store? It arrived late. Damaged. Not at all. Their tech’ support spoke English as a second language and couldn’t understand you. They never called back. Gave wrong advice. Wouldn’t even answer your emails or calls.
Some industries are worse than others. For example, tradies and landscapers have done very little to endear us with meeting promises of punctuality, clear communication, detailed quotes and meeting deadlines.
I have made it a habit all my marketing life – which stretches back to the mid Eighties – to question my clients from the outset. Can you put your hand on your heart and know that these things which we are about to announce are legitimate? Do you have evidence to support them?
One of my roles in providing marketing support is liaising with clients’ customers. Because I am an independent entity I end up being told more than they would tell their sales rep’ or account manager. The good and the bad. And, this is where I truly find out just how much integrity the business has.
I recall I was once helping a home builder and I contacted about a dozen new home owners to get their responses only to discover that they were so unhappy one of them was considering taking legal action. The builder was totally unaware of the problems which had been caused by their subcontractors. Fortunately, they took it all very seriously, employed a full-time supervisor, and the problems were quickly solved.
The building company presented messaging which spoke of being trustworthy and reliable, yet their process didn’t live up to the promise. No doubt you have a number of scenarios flicking though your mind. Times when you have been let down or felt frustrated and ‘ripped off’.
In a ‘perfect world’ long before a company becomes vocal about their new sales pitch or tagline they need to ask themselves, “Can we really achieve this?”
Will the product deliver everything we say it can? Is the online shopping cart a quick and easy 2-step process? Can we deliver in 24 hours to anywhere in Australia? Can we provide free online support for the life of the product? Are our support staff trained to answer all kinds of queries?
There is another layer over the top of this. Your culture. I really like it when organisations live and breathe what they say they are. Those who know me have heard me refer to two in particular: Apple and Virgin.
My daughter worked at Apple and I’m a long time Apple user so I have a good idea of their values and priorities. I have also spoken to a number of existing and ex-Virgin employees. They work very hard to ensure that the spirit of excellence, engagement, can-do attitude and friendliness is not a gimmick. It is who they are.
No surprise that they are so successful.
It starts at the top. Sir Richard Branson really likes his people. And they know it, so they want to work hard for him. They embrace his belief system.
At Apple the branch supervisors meet regularly with their teams. They have a ‘huddle’ in the middle of the day to get individual feedback on how everything is going and to problem-solve any challenges. They are very pro-active.
It is very dangerous to announce to the world that your product is amazing and you are amazing when you haven’t properly road tested the product/service or done anything to improve the atmosphere of your environment (your culture) or processes and systems, or ensured that personnel have been properly trained and everyone “is on the bus with you” heading in the same direction.
I would go further to say that if you don’t commit to due diligence before going public with your marketing message you are opening yourself up for a big fail. With the explosive virality of social media it will only take a few lacklustre sales experiences or failed products to tarnish the good will you have worked so hard for and spent so much to get.
Consumers are savvy. They have high expectations. And they hate being lied to. The best insurance you can ever have is a lengthy, highly detailed preparation phase which applies to every aspect of your business and its connection with your market.
©YI-JAM 2018. Just A Minute series.