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Marketing to Expectations

January 7, 2009

Tonight, I went to a meetup group for Entrepreneurs. The topic for discussion was a case study around the newest trends in “online media, social networking, product trends, and the power of Google.” The organizers claimed this case study was recently presented to MBAs at Stern. I figured that was enough credibility and was curious to hear about this “fast-growing international company” and any entrepreneurial secrets. My initial thought was there would be some interesting insights into SEO or SEM and how you can drive consumers to your product offering, or how you can achieve high returns with a low budget.

Care to guess what this “case” was really about? It ended up being a cheesy sales pitch for a company that’s equivalent to the Amway of the Internet. In no way did this presentation actually provide business value or insights. The whole experience was surreal. While the presentation was going on, I heard chirping from the back of the room. That’s right. CHIRPING. When I turn around, I see a woman with a bird perched on her shoulder and a glazed look. What? Where the hell was I? And why am I hearing about selling health and beauty products?

After the presentation was done, one audience member angrily asked if he was in the wrong room and if the real meetup was across the hall. He wasn’t the only one disappointed. My friend and I hung out for a bit and everybody we talked to shared the same sentiment – the marketing of the event was deceptive. It succeeded in getting a full room of people, but it failed miserably in achieving expectations and delivering what the audience wanted.

Anyway, the point of the story is when you market a service/product/film, remember that customer satisfaction is measured as the difference between expectations and delivery. Marketing is a powerful tool, not only in reaching your audience, but also how you set their expectations.

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