Why do marketers fail to deliver on what they promise?

 Since most marketers have positive intent, its a shame when the customer feels shortchanged. The Citibank ad is a great example of polite first date promises where both people don’t seem to want a second date. Disclaimer: This post is not about credit cards but the general question on why marketers fail to deliver on promises. Credit cards are used as examples only.

Marketing is about providing “value” to the customer and the American Marketing Association definition makes that quite clear.

You have a product that you develop and offer to the target market. The offering is communicated through your website, online advertising, off line advertising or sales calls.  Before the customer buys – she expects a certain “value”. This perceived value is a personal thing and is not necessarily what you say quite clearly (you hope) on your website and other marketing materials.  Open any of the numerous credit card direct mail offers you receive and you would see that the marketers have tried to explain the terms. Okay , sometimes the terms are in small print.

Between your perceived promise and delivery, customers experience a gap that causes dis-satisfaction.

And today dissatisfied customers do not hesitate to post on social media and do great harm to your brand.

Here are two questions to ask to ensure that you have happy customers:

  1. What is the perception of your offer? The easiest way to do this is to check the customer calls and questions. If they did not realize that a “0%” balance transfer offer involves a “3%” balance transfer fee you have several options. These include making the 3% in larger font on both the web offer and the direct mail piece. Or at the time the transaction is put in through the web having a pop up that reminds the customer about the fee. Towns do a good job of these extra costs on their web transactions as do gas stations that spell out the gas price for credit card transactions. Avoid negative surprises.
  2. Is this perceived value being delivered? Before launching an ad campaign try to test internal systems to confirm that customers “get what they see”. Sometimes it is a small software issue or a communication issue between various internal people. A few rehearsals don’t take time and the kinks are sorted out.  In new product development (NPD)  this is called “product use testing” where you test from customer perception of the value offered to the experience of the value delivered. Its surprising how very large organizations skip this inexpensive test just because the “launch” date is coming up.

These two questions should help in increasing customer happiness and more positive social media feedback. About StratoServe Digital Marketing Services.

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