Over-Promising and Under-Delivering
By Al McClain
Remember the standard advice “under-promise and over-deliver”? It’s always sounded good to me. But, many marketing campaigns and slogans these days have little to do with the
actual experience of a customer. And it’s not because they’re over-delivering.
As a consumer, I sometimes find myself frustrated by the marketing done by companies I deal with. This week my frustration was with an airline, ATA, whose slogan is “Go easy.
Go ATA.” Forget a six-hour flight delay due to weather — they can’t control that. What bugged me was buying a ticket, selecting a seat, and then being relegated to an unselected
middle seat, even though the seat selected online was still showing as available. Long story short, some folks in the customer service department at ATA have never met their marketing
I believe my sentiments are shared by CBS News’ Dick Meyer, who is bugged by the fact that companies promise to “care” about their customers, and then don’t. He thinks marketers
use “care” a lot because consumers are frustrated by bad, impersonal service and marketers believe they can tap into that frustration with “care”.
One example he cites is Real Simple magazine, which has a motto of “life made easier” but, in Meyer’s opinion, has a goal of actually complicating the lives of consumers
by offering a dizzying array of suggestions and advertising on every conceivable product.
The above examples are very different yet each point up an apparent disconnect between marketing campaigns and slogans, and what actually occurs when a customer uses a product.
Discussion Questions: Are marketers overdoing it with idealized marketing campaigns that wind up breeding discontent when they don’t live up to inflated
expectations? Can you think of good and bad examples of connecting marketing with execution?
Products and services are based on the premise that they will satisfy enough consumers enough of the time to keep their businesses healthy and growing.
Meyers is cynical to suggest that a magazine actually has an ulterior motive behind its slogan but he may have a point that “simplify your life” self-help books, magazines, tapes,
and courses can actually just become another complication in consumers’ lives.