It’s a common problem.  Marketers say one thing, but when it comes down to it, the business behind what they are “pitching” is different.  One of the primary purposes of marketing should be to set expectations, so that when a new client has an experience with your company, they know what to expect.  It is the start of a beautiful relationship.  But is it really?

Is that really the case?

Do you set the proper expectations in your marketing initiatives?  Many businesses hire terrific marketers that can write compelling headlines and text that make you want to buy, buy, buy.  How often are the claims that these marketers make actually reality?  Yes, marketing can get anyone in to your store and maybe even buy from you once.  When the experience does not live up to the hype, the customer is left feeling betrayed.

More often,  marketers create materials that don’t even inspire their own staff.  When that’s the case, you know what — we tend to live up to “low” expectations and under perform.  If you are struggling in your business, one reason could be that your marketing tools and message sets expectations that are not remarkable or different from your competition.

Could the key to setting expectations be this simple?

A good friend of mine and business mentor has told me for years that the secret to managing expectations is to “under promise and over deliver.”  Under promise?  That is hard for me.  I see so many possibilities around me that I want to promise the world.  However, when you see a world of possibilities, it is almost impossible to set reasonable expectations.  I love over delivering.  The look on my client’s face when I go above and beyond their expectations is why I get up every day.

How do you develop remarkable marketing materials that set proper expectations?

Listen

Ask.  Ask your client.  Ask them often.  Ask these questions:

  1. What do you love about our products/services?
  2. What is one thing you would change or improve
  3. Why did you choose us?
  4. What do we do that is unique
  5. Would you do business with us again?
  6. Why have you stayed with us for X years?
  7. Would you ‘happily’ refer us to your closest friend/business associate?

Authenticity – Marketing and the Social Web

Is your marketing authentic?  Does it represent who you are?  Maybe one of the reasons we are drawn to social media is that it is hard to hide behind a front. We become human and we can no longer hide behind the corporate rhetoric in our marketing.  Relationships are build through authenticity –  sharing our passions and build relationships with others that share those passions.  If you are not passionate, it will be obvious.  Social media can be the key to finding your authentic marketing messages and setting proper expectations.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what will make you come alive
and go to that.
Because what the world needs is a lot more
people who have come alive.
— Unknown

One Simple Action You Can Take Today

Gather all of the materials that you share with customers.  Ads, brochures, business cards, letter head, booklets — what ever you have.  Do they all share a common theme?  Are they consistent with what you tell your customers in person?  Do they set the right expectations?  If not, rework them.  Rework them with the words of your customers.  They tell your story better than you do anyway.

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