Saturday, May 10, 2008

How Much to Promise and How Much to Deliver

This post by Seth Godin talks about the famous business idea about the ration of promising and delivering.

I learned in some of my marketing classes that the wrong ratios is actually kind of dangerous. Let me explain.

Most of the time, the goal of a business/organization is to get repeat customers. However, for this to happen the customer needs to patronize your business/organization that first time. To appeal to them you promise them something, whether it is an under promise, an over promise, or a truthful promise. With these promises you can either disappoint, excite, or just satisfy the customer. If you under promise, the customer will be excited and want to return the next time. If you over promise, the customer may not want to come back. Most people just think that over promising and under delivering can be bad, but if you under promise and over deliver, the customer will likely expect the same over delivering next time, and the time after that until it gets to unmanageable levels where you can no longer deliver on your promises.

That is why I think it is a good idea to just be truthful to your customers about what you are going to deliver to them. If you have a product or service that will wow your customers then it won't be an issue. This relates to building trust with your customers, it is hard to have that relationship with them if it is based on a lie (either good or bad).

I am going to disagree with Seth Godin here. Instead of "Make big promises; overdeliver" I think the following.

Make big promises; deliver.

I don't think there are any reasons to over deliver if you are making big promises.

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